Parks Associates Blog

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

G1, Android, and Cupcake

T-Mobile USA announced that Google Android-based G1 smartphone is now available in all markets nationwide. Previously, it was only sold in T-Mobile’s 3G service markets. Although the carrier has not publicly discussed the G1’s sales figure, Morgan Stanley projected around 300,000 unit G1 sales in 4Q08 for the carrier. Contrasting this number, Taiwan’s HTC (G1’s maker) in early January said that G1’s 2008 shipments reached the company’s one million goal as first reported by DigiTimes. Since G1 was only available in the U.S. and U.K. in 2008, the Morgan Stanley number looks a bit low unless either T-Mobile intentionally stocked up G1 during the holiday season or sell-through was very poor.

Entering into 2009, G1 will become available in additional countries. T-Mobile will introduce it to Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Austria in January, and to Germany and Poland in February. Expanded availability, like in the U.S. will favor G1 sales. But on the other hand, the competition is up too. Google’s Android will be featured in other smartphone models. Sprint and Motorola reportedly showed interest in the Android platform, and Huawei, Samsung, and Kogan (an Australian CE maker) are working on Android-based models. Competition also comes from other mobile brands. Apple’s iPhone is clearly the biggest threat, but Blackberry’s Storm also had decent sales in the past quarter (500K as reported by the Wall Street Journal).

More exciting to G1 users is the news (or rumor) that an Android update is coming soon. Codenamed “Cupcake,” the update will bring new features to the phone’s visual display and add a new on-screen interactive keyboard, among many other hyped features. There are even rumors that G1 will get multi-touch feature in the future. Of course, with today’s news regarding Apple's multi-touch related patents, vendors will rush to consult with their lawyers to figure out if their multi-touch feature is free of IP troubles.

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