T-Mobile took the wraps off two new Android smartphones Monday designed for its fastest mobile network, promising download speeds akin to the fixed-Internet connections delivered by cable and DSL companies for the HTC Amaze 4G and the Samsung Galaxy II S. With the prospect of the iPhone gracing T-Mobile’s stores looking remote, the two new phones should help carry T-Mobile through the holiday season as it waits to see what happens with the government’s review of its proposed merger with AT&T.
Cole Brodman, chief marketing officer for T-Mobile, showed off the new Android devices at the Mobilize conference in San Francisco. Both are designed for T-Mobile’s HSPA+ 4G network, and Brodman said users can expect average download speeds of 8Mbps when the phones launch on October 12th. Brodman also unveiled a mobile hotspot for T-Mobile’s 4G network.
The notion of “4G” is a notoriously flaky part of a modern wireless carrier’s marketing strategy, but these phones are certainly fast, and Brodman said they’ll lead to more data consumption. Less than 20 percent of T-Mobile’s smartphones run on its 4G network, yet those devices account for 50 percent of its overall data traffic, he said.
He also revealed that despite support for BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, T-Mobile is almost exclusively an Android shop, with 90 percent of smartphones sold this year on T-Mobile’s network running Android. That’s not likely to change any time soon: Brodman sheepishly admitted that while Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) is well aware that T-Mobile would like to carry the iPhone, “the ball is really in their court.”
T-Mobile announced support for the Samsung Galaxy S II nearly a month ago when Samsung unveiled the U.S. version of the device. It will cost $229.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year-contract, and come with an NFC (near-field communications) chip for hooking into the burgeoning mobile-payments standard. Samsung announced earlier on Monday that it had shipped 10 million units of the Galaxy S II around the world since its April 2011 debut.
The HTC Amaze will be a T-Mobile exclusive, and come with a dual-core Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) chip, NFC capabilities, and a 4.3-inch display. It will cost $259.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract. Both phones are a little on the high side of the smartphone pricing sweet spot, which is generally not how T-Mobile likes to operate and a potential problem if Apple launches the iPhone 5 at $199.