First HSPA+ Handset Debuts, T-Mobile G2 Running Android 2.2
T-Mobile today finally unveiled the G2, the first smartphone to run on its HSPA+ network, running Android 2.2 and capable of 4G data downloads, featuring a 3.7-inch screen, full keyboard and HD video capture. The G2 is the first smartphone to run on the high-speed network technology HSPA+, which means it can download at speeds of up to 14.4 Mbps (megabits per second) on T-Mobile's network, according to the carrier. Still, there's some debate over the actual performance of both 4G and HSPA+ devices, and Sascha Segan of PCMag writes of the difference based on hands-on experience. "That's (14.4 Mbps) double the speed of T-Mobile's and AT&T's fastest previous phones, which operated at 7.2 Mbps -- but it still doesn't reach the maximum speed of T-Mobile's network, which runs at theoretical speeds of up to 21 Mbps. In real-life circumstances, we've gotten speeds more like 5 Mbps with USB modems on T-Mobile's HSPA+ system. That's the fastest 3G system where it's available, and it often matches Sprint's 4G WiMAX on speed," writes Segan. The T-Mobile G2 is the follow-up device to the first Android handset ever sold in the U.S., the G1, and a lot has changed in the mobile market since it launched over two years ago, as Android is making steady gains in market share compared to rival OSes. The Google-backed mobile platform's latest version, Android 2.2 or Froyo, is a significant upgrade including faster processing, more enterprise-friendly features, better mobile app management and storage and support for Adobe Flash. Powered by Android 2.2, the G2 is one of the first smartphones to offer the new Voice Actions feature of Google Search, which allows users to control the mobile device with voice commands. It's also the first smartphone to offer integrated access to Google Voice, allowing users to create a new account from the home screen of the device using their current mobile number, according to T-Mobile.
The G2 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon MSM7230 800 MHz mobile processor. It also includes an HD video camera for shooting video at 720p, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, support for Microsoft Exchange email, contacts and calendar. The Android handset also has a preinstalled 8GB microSD memory card with support for up to 32GB. The device also supports Adobe Flash 10.1 and the Swype text input application. There are seven customizable home screens, one of which is designed to provide one-click access to Google applications such as Gmail, Google Maps with Places and Navigation and the Android Market.Other integrated Google apps include Google Voice, Google Voice Actions for Android, Google Goggles, Google Earth, YouTube and Google Talk. T-Mobile customers will be able to preorder the G2 later this month, and though the carrier has not disclosed pricing details, but the blog TMOnews.com is reporting it will be the industry standard of $199 with a two-year contract. "One of the advantages of an open platform is the opportunity for developers to create rich mobile experiences and seamlessly get those experiences into the hands of consumers," Andy Rubin, vice president of engineering at Google, said in a statement. "From new services, such as Voice Actions, to mobile applications, developer-led Android innovation is flourishing. On Android Market alone, the number of applications available to consumers has grown from just 50 applications two years ago to more than 80,000 applications today." The T-Mobile G2 joins a coveted group of smartphones running Android 2.2: the Nexus One, Droid, Droid 2, Droid Incredible and Evo 4G. The Droid X and Samsung Galaxy series of Android handsets and Samsung's own next-gen handset, the Epic 4G, are all slated to be upgraded soon.