My distress over the fact that T-Mobile USA just launched a new HTC Android phone that's not
Hero has been well documented as of late, so let's just leave that to
the side for now, shall we? Fact is, there's finally a second Android
phone on a US carrier, and T-Mo's got both of 'em ... so let's
celebrate T-Mobile's (and HTC's) monopoly over the US Android market
while it lasts, shall we?
T-Mo hosted a launch shindig for media in
NYC today, and to nobody's surprised they used the event to launch
myTouch 3G, which is essentially a re-branded HTC Magic. They also
unleashed a slew of myTouch accessories and made it generally known
that they're going to hype the customization angle when it comes to
marketing myTouch to the peoples. Which is good, because everyone and
their cousin has been wondering why T-Mo didn't name the thing "G2"
instead of "myTouch 3G." Now we know: $199 with a two-year contract
won't merely get you a thinner, keyboard-less G1. No, no, it will get
you a supercustomizable smartphone worth of YOUR touch.
the $199 launch price is a bit high given the shot across everyone's
bow Apple and AT&T sent with the $99 iPhone 3G, but it also places
myTouch in line with everyone else's flagship phones, most notably
iPhone 3GS (AT&T) and Palm Pre (Sprint). I'd preferred to see
myTouch slotted in at $149 or less, more to play up T-Mo's "best value"
angle than anything else, since the real cost of a smartphone to the
consumer comes in the form of those hefty monthly service bills.
People - well, American people at least - don't seem to look at the
long-term cost of ownership when making a purchase like this, though.
We're suckers for that lowball up-front price. Hence the genius of the
$99 iPhone 3G and my slight scoff at myTouch costing twice that.
said, I like how T-Mo is positioning myTouch 3G as an uber-customizable
experience. Let's face it, I might me miffed that we're not getting
that other (newer, faster, better) HTC Android phone, but most
consumers won't know the difference. They won't even know what Android
is. What they will know is how they react to a smartphone that:
I'm not being sarcastic with that last comment. Seriously. myTouch is
like a grown-up Sidekick in that it offers a serious smartphone
experience in a button-down jacket, but also gives you the option of
wacky, fun extras. Sidekick has those snap-on body plates and
multicolored lights, right? Well now myTouch 3G has:
Okay, there was a little sarcasm in there, but seriously, when have you
seen a carrier launch a phone with so many accessories? Sure, you can
get crappy skins and cases on eBay and at the kiosk at the mall, but
direct from your carrier? And made to coordinate with a high-end
flagship phone? This is new to me, anyway.
So while I am mad at you, T-Mo and Google, for not giving us Hero's
faster platform, better camera, 3.5mm audio jack, and Sense UI today, I
am very proud of your marketing efforts. I'll be very curious to see
how this plays out, and if the mainstream set is drawn to the MY in
myTouch 3G. We already know those mainstreamers are interested in
smartphones. Could a commuter mug and "Fashion Case with wrist strap"
be just what those folks need to tip them away from iPhone and Pre and
towards myTouch 3G in finally signing up for their first smartphone?
Could be. Geeks like specs and UIs. Mainstream consumers? Sometimes they're all about a choice of high-fashion colors.