The day after we heard that HTC expects to sell more than it previous expectation of one million Android devices by year-end, we now hear that Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is passing out the T-Mobile G1’s to employees as a holiday bonus. Valleywag reports that in the past, the search engine paid as much as $20,000 or $30,000 in cash to emloyees — so sure — a $179.99 cellphone sold exclusively by T-Mobile sounds like a fair trade.
In an e-mail obtained by Valleywag Google management blames the economic crisis, but also suggests that this is a great opportunity for everyone to check out the phone to see “all the cool new things you do with it.” It continued: “First, we’ve never developed anything like the Android software before and this represented a unique opportunity to celebrate that achievement. Googlers globally have been asking for the Dream phone and we’re looking forward to seeing all the different things that you do with them…Second, as we discussed in our email this week, the current economic crisis requires us to be more conservative about how we spend our money. We felt that giving the Dream phone would be a great holiday present – something we could all celebrate.”
Passing out a phone to so many workers was a pretty huge feat. The phones do not have SIM cards, and are unlocked so they can be used with any network and they’ll work immediately over Wi-Fi. However, they weren’t able to send them to employees in some countries, including India, China, Brazil, Korea, Israel, Russia, Argentina, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mexico, Turkey, Kenya, United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Egypt, Chile, and the Ukraine. Instead they’ll receive $400. Overall, Google said nearly 85 percent of all employees, which pencils out to about 17,105 people, will receive a phone, so we were sorta joking about it padding HTC’s sales.