T-Mobile continues to tease us with the first handset that can take full advantage of the carrier’s 21 Mbps mobile broadband network, today introducing the G2 handset. Unfortunately, without any handset details — other than support for the fast HSPA+ network speeds — we officially know nothing more about the upcoming G2. For now, we have a name and a generic handset rendering that looks more like a bar of soap than anything else. So what might the G2 shape up to be?
Given that the original G1 was made by HTC, which now makes some of the best Android handsets around, it’s a safe bet that the G2 is another HTC device. If that’s true, we can glean quite a bit of information. HTC has turned to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon CPU to power high-end Android phones, so an HTC-made G2 would probably offer the same. Although Qualcomm has dual core, faster processors coming down the pike, it’s either too early for a faster chip in the G2, or the phone gets a faster processor and doesn’t launch until year-end. My gut says the phone arrives in the next month or so and comes with the now-standard 1 GHz Snapdragon chip.
Support for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network tells us about the phone capabilities as well. Speedy mobile broadband is great for all activities, but it provides the most bang for buck with large files, such as those used to transport media. Based on my hands-on testing of an HSPA+ data stick, I’m expecting real world download speeds on the G2 to approach 10 Mbps in a best-case scenario. That’s ideal for both streaming video and pulling down media files, but what’s the point of such an advantage if the consumption device is limited to a small screen? The G2 ought to offer a screen size of at least four inches in diagonal for media consumption over the HSPA+ network. Another reason for a large display is the competition. Based on support for a faster mobile broadband network, T-Mobile’s G2 will be going head to head with Sprint’s 4G handsets: the EVO (see our review here) and the Epic, both of which offer displays of four inches or better.
HSPA+ isn’t all about the downloads though; it provides reasonably fast upload speeds as well. Activities like sending email, updating social networks or basic web surfing work just fine on today’s 3G networks, so what does HSPA+ bring to the table when it comes to uploads? Again, there’s a big benefit when it comes to media, only this time it’s for media creating and sharing. A faster upload pipe will make it easier for G2 owners to shoot larger video files up to the cloud or live-stream as needed. For that reason, it won’t surprise me to see high-definition, 720p video recording on the G2, which again is becoming common on higher-end smartphones today. A front-facing video camera isn’t beyond the realm of possibilities either, because video chat is another benefactor of a faster wireless network.
T-Mobile might be playing coy with the G2 details, but by touting the phone as the first handset with HSPA+ support, the handset’s capabilities offer some reasonable expectations. Once the phone specifications become official, we’ll see how close — or how off-base — my educated guesses are.
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