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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 26, 2011 at 11:50 AM

T-Mobile’s iPhone throwdown: New superfast Androids

T-Mobile USA today is unveiling its new flagship phones, both of which have dual-core processors and use the company’s new 42 megabit per second HSPA+ network.

Both phones will see average download speeds “approaching 8 Mbps with peak speeds around 20 Mbps” on the fastest portions of T-Mobile’s network, which now extends 42 Mbps service to about 170 million people across the country.

The Bellevue-based carrier needed some hot hardware this holiday season to compete with Apple’s expected iPhone 5 and LTE handsets from Verizon and AT&T. It also needs to keep bringing in new customers, in case its merger with AT&T is delayed or scuttled by regulators.

Combined with $49 rate plans introduced during the summer, T-Mobile’s new hardware should compete well against the array of new smartphones coming to market this holiday season, according to Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing.

“We think that combination of amazing technology and great value is very compelling,” he said.

The phones may also continue smartphone momentum at T-Mobile. Sherrard said 75 percent of the phones it sold this year were smartphones, compared to the 55 percent industry average, and video consumption over the network is doubling every six months.

Google’s Android platform is stealing the show at T-Mobile. Of the smartphones it sold this year, 90 percent are Android-based, with the remainder split between BlackBerry and Windows devices, Sherrard said.

Samsung Galaxy S II (1).jpg

Both of the new flagship devices are Android-based.

Starting in October, T-Mobile will be selling the Samsung Galazy S II – a hot new model with a 4.5-inch display that’s appearing on multiple carriers in different configurations. Samsung today announced that 10 million units have been ordered by carriers globally since the chassis debuted in April.

T-Mobile’s version of the Galaxy S II has a 1.5 gigahertz dual-core Snapdragon processor, Android Gingerbread and pre-loaded applications including Netflix, YouTube and T-Mobile’s HD TV service.

T-Mobile’s also going to offer the HTC Amaze (also known as the Hero), with the same 1.5 gig dual-core processor, 8 megapixel camera and 1080p video recorder.

The Amaze also has advanced photo handling software, including a program called SmartShot that takes a burst of five pictures and blends them to create “the best shot using clear faces with smiles and no blinking,” the release said.

HTC Amaze 4G _ HERO.JPG

T-Mobile’s calling it “the most advanced camera experience of any smartphone” although Nokia may object, since it’s offering the N8 with a 12 megapixel camera and photo editing software.

T-Mobile will take orders for the the phones on Oct. 10 and have it in stores on Oct. 12. The Amaze will cost $260 after a $50 rebate and with a two-year service plan, and the Galaxy S II will cost $230 after a $50 rebate and with a two-year plan.

AT&T last week said it’s going to have its version of the Galaxy S II in stores on Oct. 2; it has the same hardware but AT&T hasn’t boosted its HSPA+ network to the same speeds.

T-Mobile also announced a mobile hotspot device called the Sonic 4G that supports up to five wireless devices and connects to its 42 Mbps network. The puck-style hotspot also goes on sale in October.

Details of the new products were to be presented today at the Mobilize conference in San Francisco, during a keynote speech by Cole Brodman, T-Mobile’s chief marketing officer.

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