T-Mobile's CTO Talks Up Android — Going Forward, Apps Are Key

brodmanCole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer at T-Mobile USA, provided details on the company’s continuing plans for the open-source Android operating system in a keynote address at Open Mobile Summit today in San Francisco. In the company’s fourth-quarter lineup — a period that promises to see lots of Android action — T-Mobile will feature four Android-based phones: the Motorola CLIQ (now available), the Samsung Behold II (coming soon), the T-Mobile G1 and the T-Mobile myTouch, according to a report provided to us on his keynote. Brodman also offered up specifics on myTouch and Android application usage trends. Here are the details.

Brodman reported that:

  • About half of myTouch users visit the Android Market at least once per day.
  • 80 percent of myTouch users browse the web at least once per day, and two-thirds several times per day.
  • Nearly half of myTouch users say they have “completely customized” their myTouch.
  • More than 40 percent of myTouch users access social-networking sites multiple times per day.

While Android does have substantial momentum right now, it doesn’t yet have the  iPhone’s overflowing ecosystem of applications. As Om reported today, Apple (s aapl) says that there are now 100,000 applications for the iPhone in its App Store. Brodman said today that the number of Android apps in the Android Market has grown to 12,000, up from 50 when the G1 phone first launched.

He also confirmed that T-Mobile is focusing on application discoverability — an issue many iPhone users have struggled with — for Android. When the T-Mobile myTouch 3G appeared, the company created an “AppPack” on the Android Market which features hand-picked third-party apps and T-Mobile apps. Brodman said that later this month the company will follow up with a T-Mobile Channel on the Android Market, to make it easier for users to find and purchase applications. T-Mobile also now has a developer-focused site where application creators can pitch their apps for featured placement and marketing partnerships with T-Mobile. The company will also soon be offering carrier billing, so that users can get charges for applications they purchase on their phone bills.

For Android to compete as successfully as it can with the iPhone, good, easily discoverable applications are going to be critical. This month, Google (s goog) will announce the winners of the second annual Android Developer Challenge, which offers large cash prizes for the best Android applications. Google, T-Mobile, Verizon (s vz), Motorola (s mot) and the many other players betting on Android should be thinking carefully about further ways to offer incentives for outstanding Android applications, including financial ones.