Following its introduction in the US and the UK, Germany's T-Mobile is preparing to market a direct competitor to the Apple iPhone. The Google-based mobile device offers 700 applications.
Europeans will soon have an alternative to Apple's iPhone, when Germany's T-Mobile, a subsidiary of telecommunications giant Deutsche Telekom, begins selling its new G1 phone. It has previously been available in Britain and the United States, but will also be marketed in a number of European countries in the next few weeks.
"We will introduce the G1 by January 30 in the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Austria," T-Mobile Chief Executive Hamid Akhavan said in Hamburg on Monday. He added that the phone will be available in Germany on February 2 and in Poland later that month.
New phone is a mini-computer
The G1 phone is manufactured by the HTC Corp of Taiwan and features a touch-screen, a computer-like keyboard and Wi-Fi connections. Based on a Google operating system called Android, it also includes popular applications from the successful search engine, such as search, maps and mail functions. Industry analysts consider it the most likely contender to the iconic status of Apple's iPhone.
T-Mobile sells the G1 phone for $179 (139 euros) in conjunction with a two-year contract in the United States and T-Mobile USA estimates that 400,000 units were sold in the US in the last quarter of 2008. While declining to provide exact figures, Akhavan contended that the G1 was the most successful phone ever sold in the United States.
In Germany, the phone will sell for a symbolic one euro ($1.33) in combination with a two-year contract with T-Mobile.
Phone companies need new revenue sources
Mobile network operators hope to generate continuous revenue streams from data traffic with the help of such smart phones, as prices for mobile voice calls decline.
Google introduced its Android software system for mobile-phone devices in November 2007, in an effort to help the mobile phone industry make the Internet work as smoothly on phones as on computers.
Both Google and Apple have been actively wooing software developers to create applications for their devices. However, unlike Apple, which maintains a tight proprietary grip on the iPhone's hardware and operating software, Google's Android operating system is open to adaptation by outside developers. The Open Handset Alliance, established by Google to develop Android, now includes 40 manufacturers and wireless service companies
Ironically, Apple's iPhone is sold in Germany exclusively through T-Mobile.