One of the things I've wondered is how the various Android phones -- and the OEMs that make them -- will seek to differentiate from one another once multiple phones are in the market. BusinessWeek has some interesting details about the forthcoming Motorola Android phone, which is apparently not scheduled to ship until mid-2009:
Like the world's first Android phone, from HTC, Motorola's Android-based device will offer a slide-out Qwerty keyboard. People who've seen the pictures and spec sheets for the device say it looks like a higher-end version of the HTC phone, called the T-Mobile G1. But it's expected to sell for less, at prices similar to the Krave, which is available for $150 with a two-year contract. After carrier subsidies, the G1 will retail for $180 with a two-year contract.
Also interesting is the fact that it will seek to differenatiate as a "social smartphone," building in features that will reportedly make it easier to access and use social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook -- both of which dominate "mobile social networking" in its very nascent state.
Another interesting angle here is price. The article excerpt above suggests some price competition between the G1 and forthcoming Motorola Android phone. Along those lines syndicated tech commentator offers some interesting thoughts about how Android might increase price competition among smartphone OEMs and drive the price of handsets down.
Indeed, notwithstanding the built-in social networking elements, price may be a more effective differentiator for the Motorola Android phone. If there is price competition among the various Android vendors, how might that affect BlackBerry and the iPhone? Both have some insulation against price competition: BlackBerry owns the enterprise market today and the iPhone the high-end consumer market. Yet both could be forced to respond if multiple Android handsets are priced closer to $100 than $200.
And the more prices come down for smartphones, the more that segment of the market will grow. Three of the top five selling phones in the US are smartphones (two BlackBerry phones and the iPhone). That in turn benefits the mobile Internet as we've repeatedly seen:
Source: TMP-comScore (9/08), n=3,000