T-Mobile has announced an addition to its line-up of smartphones based on Google's Android platform, and said that it expects Android to become the dominant phone platform in the near future.
Available from October, the T-Mobile Pulse is the first Android handset available on a pay-as-you-go tariff, the company said, and is intended to be a more affordable mass-market device than the earlier G1 and G2 Touch models.
The Pulse has a large 3.5in touch screen plus a mini trackball for navigation, and weighs about 130g. It supports HSDPA/HSUPA and Wi-Fi network connections, plus Bluetooth, and has built-in GPS capability. The phone is manufactured exclusively for T-Mobile by telecoms firm Huawei.
But its most significant features, according to T-Mobile, are a new user interface called Canvas, and the ability to download applications straight from the Android Market.
"With Canvas, you have the space and freedom to customise your home screen, just like a PC desktop. Your photos and email can be just a click away," said Nicola Shenton, head of handset and device marketing at T-Mobile UK.
Shenton predicted strong future growth in Android-based devices, because the platform is so flexible and delivers an experience not currently available on other platforms.
"We predict there will be 18 to 20 Android devices by the end of this year, and by 2013 we expect it will outstrip all other devices, including Apple's iPhone, because of the openness of the platform," she said.
However, Shenton added that T-Mobile is not planning to abandon other platforms just yet, but that Android is expected to slowly eat away their market share.
Applications are now driving the market forward, according to Shenton, who pointed to increased take-up of quality paid-for applications and business-focused software from Android Market.
In addition to the usual Android applications such as Google Mail and Google Maps, T-Mobile has pre-loaded the Pulse with RoadSync from Dataviz, which lets users synchronise email with Microsoft Exchange servers, plus a trial version of the Documents To Go application suite and the TeleNav navigation tool.
The Pulse has a 3.2-megapixel auto-focus camera, 2GB of internal memory, plus a micro SD card slot for adding storage. The handset has a quoted battery life of 300 hours on standby and 210 minutes of talktime.
Pricing for the Pulse is £179.99 on pay-as-you-go, but the handset will also be available on monthly contracts, T-Mobile said.
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