The New New Carrier Deck

motorola-cliq.jpgThere are no longer any doubts that T-Mobile has hitched its smartphone bandwagon to Google’s Android operating system. The company today said that it will be selling four Android-powered handsets to its (current and potential) customers during the vital holiday season. It is clear T-Mobile is hoping to sell a lot of smartphones. As part of its push, the company is making some plans regarding applications and application discovery. Here are some excerpts from their email pitch sent earlier today:

With the introduction of the T-Mobile myTouch 3G, T-Mobile created T-Mobile AppPack on Android Market, which features select 3rd party and T-Mobile made apps. T-Mobile recently refreshed AppPack with new, suggested applications – 34 apps in all, including a mix of free and paid apps. Later this month, the company will take this a step further by introducing a T-Mobile Channel on Android Market (that will be live by Thanksgiving), and Android Market (including the T-Mobile Channel) will soon feature carrier billing making it easier and more streamlined for customers with T-Mobile Android devices to purchase their favorite applications.

When I read that pitch, the first thing that came to my mind: hey isn’t that what the carrier decks of yore really used to be?

Carriers playing godfather to the fortunes of small companies in exchange for some baksheesh. Apps placed by them on the deck was how start-ups fortunes were decided. Carrier decks also were a way to sell premium applications and services. So how are T-Mobile channel and T-Mobile App Pack any different than the carrier deck? My inner skeptic says: not much!

Any thoughts folks?