This would be quite welcomed by me. Ars is reporting that up to 20 Android phones may be released by the end of the year. I am a huge fan of Android…at least I want it to succeed. Currently I am an iPhone owner, but honestly if the G1 had been a little compelling at the time I might have switched. I am hoping that as more Android phones are released more developers will create compelling apps for the system. There is no word on the “who, what, when, or where,” just yet. The article seems to suggest at the end that this may be more over in Europe with the America following next year:
He also pointed out that, because of the highly competitive handset market in the US, carriers here wouldn’t be as likely as those in Europe to jump on the new devices unless they are distinctive. That means Android fans in the US who aren’t keen on switching to T-Mobile for the G1 may have to wait a little longer than our friends on the other side of the pond, but if Google is on a roll with its distribution agreements, it undoubtedly won’t be long before more phones pop up.
I think it is a bit of a misnomer to say that we have a “highly competitive handset market.” Mainly because that would suggest that other economies don’t. The reality is that we have a highly competitive service provider market who artificially create scarcities to try to lure customers to their service. ATT makes pennies off of the sale of an iPhone, but the data charges and 2 year contract mixed with the sexy appeal of being the only iPhone provider give it a competitive advantage. There are people who would die to get an iPhone but won’t touch ATT. In other countries, particularly Asia, you purchase your phone first and get a service provider second. I think it is fair to say that they have a much more competitive handset market where we have a “highly competitive” service provider market. in Asia the handset makers actually have to do marketing work to lure you into a purchase. Personally I like the Asian way. Back when cell phones were brand new technology it made sense to subsidize phones based upon a 2 year contract. People were skeptical of the service already fearing high prices, and cell phones that comparatively do little cost exorbitant amounts of money. At this point, however, I would be more than willing to purchase a phone outright to avoid a contract. In theory this is possible (though not with an iPhone), but in practicality it isn’t. Given the two major carriers, verizon and ATT, a phone purchased for one would not necessarily transfer to the other giving little reason not to subsidize your phone.
So other than that slight tangent I believe this is good news. I think my timing will work out just right that when my iPhone contract ends I’ll have a couple of compelling choices to choose from as an alternative.