Talking tech since 2003

One of the great benefits behind the Google Android mobile operating system is the fact that the manufacturers of mobile devices can opt to put it on whatever devices they want.  This means that a magnitude of products are able to operate using the same general interface and software which allows for a comfortable and semi-consistent user interface for end-users. BestTechie contributing author, Michael Morris, suggested in a September blog post that the Android OS’s userbase will surpass that of the iOS simply because of the number of devices that in runs on.

Thus far, many of the devices sporting the Android OS have been somewhat pricey.  After all, these devices are classified as “smartphones” because of their processing capabilities, features, and overall productivity.  This can be seen in examples such as the Droid 2, which currently retails for around $370 (or $50 with a 2-year contract).

However, T-Mobile, one of the largest mobile carriers in the United States, recently announced their release of the T-Mobile Comet: a lower-end Android-based smartphone that will sell for just under $10 (after rebate) when purchased with a standard contract.  While the specs of this phone aren’t mindblowing per se (528MHz processor, 2.8-inch touch-screen display, 3.2 megapixel camera, FM radio, microSD slot, and WiFi b/g/n), the fact that someone can now purchase an Android-based device at a much more affordable price is definately something that will benefit a lot of people.  You see, there are some people who inevitably need the functionality of an Android-based device without the level of power traditionally seen in it; and this phone will likely deliver.

One of the great things about the Android OS (and smartphones in general) is the fact that they can adapt rather easily to the needs of the user.  This means that a phone such as the T-Mobile Comet can easily be taken advantage of by small businesses and families alike to provide a modern phone running a modern OS at a reasonable price.

While the Comet is surely going to be a winner for consumers, we also have to consider the positive implications that it is sure to have for T-Mobile.  You see, even though the Comet doesn’t have as much power as some of the other Android-based devices, it still provides a way for consumers to introduce themselves to the Android environment without the significant cost that we’ve seen historically.  For this reason, I imagine that there are going to be some people who are going to buy the Comet with the low upfront cost and outgrow it. This will, in turn, lead to more people feeling comfortable (if not dependent) on the Android OS and upgrading to more powerful devices down the road.

When all is said and done, the T-Mobile Comet is likely to be a win all around.  T-Mobile will see an influx of new customers eager to get their hands on a low-cost Android-based device, and companies like Motorola will see increased sales as the Android OS becomes more of a standard.  Last but not least, the consumer will not only benefit directly by having a low-cost Android device, but will also benefit indirectly as a result of the increased competition in the mobile industry that is sure to emerge as a result of the Comet.

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