T-Mobile Confirms Google Android Phones In 4Q2008

This is something I’m personally excited about. I’ve been a Palm OS user since 1998, and I currently use a Treo 680, but I have to admit that Palm OS is getting a bit long in the tooth and it is getting hard to overlook its shortcomings. And Palm’s new Linux-based OS has been repeatedly delayed and now won’t hit devices until 2009 – unless it is delayed again. At this point I haven’t seen anything from Palm to encourage me to wait. Actually, I haven’t seen anything encouraging from Palm in ages, period. At least for my use, the Centro is a nice phone and I do recommend checking it out if you want an entry level smartphone. For the price it is a great smartphone.

On the other hand I’ve been impressed by the previews of Android, and it already has more industry support than Palm OS – before it even releases. I’ve tried Windows Mobile and Symbian S60, but frankly I’d rather stick with even ragged old Palm OS than use either one. Android is the first alternative I’ve seen that has tempted me to switch. More than tempted really, at this point I’m pretty sure I’ll be jumping to Android this year unless something goes drastically wrong with the devices.

So I’m happy to see T-Mobile confirm they will have Android-based phones available in 4Q2008. Personally I use AT&T, but since they’re both GSM odds are any phones available for T-Mobile will also be available for AT&T, or at least in a non-subsidy-locked model that I could use. I want a GSM/HSPA smartphone with a decent touchscreen and a good physical keyboard, like my Treo, but with an OS that isn’t five years out of date like Palm OS or clunky like WinMob and Symbian (IMHO, of course). Yeah, I’ve tried RIM too, I’ve never liked any of the Blackberry designs and find the OS to be kind of clunky too, and I prefer something more open.

It’s been a while since I was eagerly anticipating the release of a new product family, I just hope Android doesn’t disappoint.

Picked up from Engadget.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Chris H.

    I’m also excited by this. Even if Android turns out to be poor, the fact that it’s open source means the community will fix it right up.

    AT&T has more or less hinted that they’ll allow most any GSM phone to connect to their network. Like you, I’ve been waiting for a smart phone that doesn’t…well, suck. I’ve been putting up with Windows Mobile and it’s just too clunky and buggy for me.

    T-Mobile hasn’t given any details on the hardware, but I think once the first couple of Android phones hit, we’ll see a flood.

  • Bakk

    I cant NOT wait for Android!! its what ive been wanting for the last 3-4 years. I too have been a Palm hold out and still really enjoy using my Treo 755p. I know its a little long in the tooth but the fact is, it does everything i need, lets me install apps(GO Slingplayer for palm!!!), and is very stable. However, once slingplayer is ported over to Android ill drop palm in a second.

    Are you listening Sling?? Do you want another $30 from me :)

  • Andrew S.

    My wife has had her Verizon Treo 650 for what seems like ages. The only reason she hasn’t looked into anything else yet is because all the other Verizon non-Palm smartphones are crappy or don’t offer the same functions that her 650 does. I’m just hoping that at somepoint that changes, Anyone know what are the odds are that an Andorid-based phone will make it on Verizon?

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Verizon is one of the telcos in the Open Handset Alliance, which is behind Android. So it seems likely they’ll have Android phones.

  • Dan

    I keep hearing “Long in the Tooth”.
    What features are you guys looking for that Palm doesn’t offer?
    Is it just the desire for a new toy that doesn’t suck? -Pocket PC, I’m looking at you-

  • Bakk

    No I dont believe that my Treo is lacking any features so to speak..It does a great job of getting/sending emails, Editing docs/notes on the go, watching my slingbox, txt messaging and phone calls which is all I NEED in a phone. But I feel its a little long in the tooth because of issues like, no Audio profiles for bluetooth/terrible bluetooth support, no real multitasking(although i HATE, HATE, HATE the way windows mobile does it so maybe thats actually plus), not the best media playback software, no wifi, no built in gps..to name a few. But again those are all auxillary things that i dont really NEED, so thats why I said I still love my Treo 755p! its a great piece of hardware that hasnt let me down

  • http://www.eyrie-productions.com/ Gryphon

    Well, technically speaking, all you NEED in a phone is phone calls. A phone that does anything else is interesting, but a phone that doesn’t do that is, uh, not a phone. :)

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Dan – Palm OS is very limited in the memory it supports and the connections it handles. There are no 3G GSM Palm OS devices because the OS cannot handle it. There are 3G CDMA Palm OS devices because of the way EVDO works, it is treated as basically one connection. But UMTS/HSPA on GSM is a second connection – and Palm OS can only do one at a time. So GSM phones are limited to EDGE at best. Just like the iPhone, EDGE is the slow lane for Internet access, and barely acceptable for streaming services like Slingbox.

    This is also why there are no Palm OS phones with WiFi – the OS can’t handle having both a cellular connection and WiFi.

    Palm OS can’t officially address more than 4GB. Larger SD cards may work, but support is iffy and not reliable.

    Palm OS has no multi-tasking. You’re browsing the web and get a call? Answer the call and then you have to restart the browser from scratch. You’re running an SSH terminal and get an SMS message? If you respond to the message your SSH session is lost. Some vendors have come up with kludges to keep things like IMAP email programs connected in the background to monitor email, but that can make the phone unstable.

    Palm OS itself has always been, well, I’ll say ‘quirky’ to be kind. My Treo will up and reboot itself periodically, sometimes in the middle of a call. It seems that the more applications you install, the less stable it becomes.

    And the UI is getting a bit dated, it just doesn’t look as good as current phones – Palm OS hasn’t changed their UI since around 2000 when the first ‘hi-res’ devices hit and the icons got a refresh. (All early Palm OS devices were 160×160, hi-res is 320×320, hi-res+ is 320×480.)

    The hardware is decent, but as other devices continue to add features – 3G, WiFi, stereo BlueTooth, more memory capacity, etc – the Palm OS devices look increasingly dated.

    Look at the Centro – it has all the features of what was a ‘high end’ Palm OS smartphone just 2-3 years ago, for $99. Because that’s where advances in the market have pushed the value of the device. It is a very nice phone for $99, but it is hard to justify buying a 680 or 755p when the Centro has the same features. Palm OS remains frozen in time, and has been for over five years now.

    Heh, and as I was writing this my Treo 680 lost its data connection and started spitting errors each time it tried to reconnect. Generally the only way for me to fix this is to power off the phone and turn it back on, or do a full reboot. Sometimes it’ll eventually recover on its own.

  • Bakk

    MegaZone, while everything you said was correct, since i have an EVDO Treo a lot of those issues have dissapeared. For example, with my old Treo 650 I would lose my webpage when a phone call came in, however with an evdo palm I can get a phone call and browse the web. I can also get a phone call while watching my slingbox and the phone will remain stable. However the point remains, it cant really handle two network connections at once.

  • Chris H.

    Right, and in 2008 that’s just not acceptable…multiple connections have to be doable.

    FYI, if you believe Engadget, <A HREF=”http://www.engadget.com/2008/04/25/the-second-gen-iphone-3g-gps-only-slightly-thicker/”?3G iPhone details are starting to leak…

  • Chris H.

    Ugh, how did I bollix up that link? Second Try…

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Yeah, but while the iPhone is shiny and all, I don’t like it. I tried playing with it and I didn’t like the interface, especially for typing anything. I do ema land SMS on my Treo more than anything else, and typing on the iPhone was downright unpleasant for me. Plus music storage is woefully inadequate, I won’t go lower than 60GB (my current iPod), if not more.

  • http://www.eyrie-productions.com/ Gryphon

    The iPhone’s a non-starter for me because it requires the use of a network that doesn’t cover where I live, but even if it weren’t, I’d be a little skeptical of it just because, you know, touch screen. It seems to me it would be a very effective smudge collector, but not really that useful as a gadget.

    But don’t go by me. I’m one of those luddite types who think expecting a phone to do anything other than phone calls is needless extravagance. :)

  • Chris H.

    MZ: I agree with you mostly re: the iPhone. I haven’t really played with it to know for sure, but I’m very happy on T-Mobile and don’t want to change just for an expensive phone. And I agree about the music storage…everyone’s different, of course, but my personal philosophy is that I need my entire music collection with me on my player. If not, then dollars to donuts I will get a sudden craving to hear a song I DON’T have loaded.

    Gryphon: Apple seems to have a thing for smudge-collection devices…my iPod went straight into a case and hasn’t come out, because it’s such a fingerprint magnet. As for phones doing more than phone calls…from my perspective it’s all about not having to carry around fifty devices. :) I got a Palm IIIc when it came out, and loved having contacts/calendar/email/etc. that synced with my desktop, but it became pretty clear that carrying that AND a phone was a nuisance…nevermind that AND a phone AND an iPod.

    So if I can get one device to do multiple things, that’s a big plus. At a minimum I need contacts and calendar, and most non-smartphones don’t do this well (e.g. Motorola phones will refuse to sync calendar entries that have complex repeating patterns, or a variety of other situations). I use Outlook for work (against my will) so I always assumed WinMo would sync better than anything else. Well, it syncs well; it’s just got loads of other flaws. Since getting one I’ve gotten used to having things like Bluetooth syncing, WiFi, and so on.

    The Palm IIIc was clunky and primitive by 2008 standards, but what it did it did very well. If a Palm phone could do so with modern features, I’d surely consider it.