When T-Mobile announced its Android 2.2-powered HTC G2 phone last week, it made no mention of pricing.
So it was a little strange to see Best Buy announce a $199.99 price on pre-orders beginning last Friday, followed by a tweet from Radio Shack over the weekend indicating that it would sell the handset for just $149.99 with an instant rebate.
CostCo, meanwhile, will reportedly be selling the device as well, for somewhere between $150 and $200 with free accessories.
What, a pricing war, already? Such early indications of pricing competition will surely mean good news for business buyers.
A First for HSPA+
Powered by Android 2.2, or Froyo, the T-Mobile G2 with Google is the first smartphone designed specifically for the 4G speeds of T-Mobile's new HSPA+ network. The device is the highly anticipated successor to the T-Mobile G1, which was the world's first Android-powered mobile phone. It sports a large, 3.7-inch screen with a unique hinge design that opens to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard.
The G2 offers seven customizable home screen panels, including a dedicated panel with one-click access to Android Market. Tight integration with Google Voice is also a hallmark of the device, as are Google applications such as Voice Actions, Google Goggles, Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps with Places and Navigation, YouTube, Google Talk and Google Earth, among others.
Also featured on the G2 is the Snapdragon MSM7230 mobile processor, which combines Qualcomm's new HSPA+ capabilities and a second-generation applications processor with download speeds faster than other solutions currently in the market, T-Mobile says.
Best Buy will launch the G2 in stores on Oct. 6; no word yet on availability from Radio Shack, Costco or T-Mobile.
Gaining New Ground
Up-and-comer Android is rapidly edging out its competitors and will become the No. 2 mobile operating system by the end of this year, according to research firm Gartner and others. Thanks to its security and other advantages, it is widely predicted to dominate the mobile operating system arena in the long run.
Perhaps most notably, the Android platform gives users a wide variety of devices and carriers to choose from. Verizon, for instance, is reported to be readying another Android device targeting global business travelers.
With this new price cut, T-Mobile's G2 could help Android gain additional ground among cost-conscious buyers in small businesses and beyond. Pricing on Apple's iPhone 4 starts at $199 with a two-year contract with AT&T.
Follow Katherine Noyes on Twitter: @Noyesk.