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Can Anything Stop Android's Smartphone Dominance?

Daniel Lee |
October 6, 2010 | 3:42 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

T-Mobile G2. (T-Mobile.com)
T-Mobile G2. (T-Mobile.com)
Since it was announced in early September, the T-Mobile G2 has been the subject of much hype.

Due to "overwhelming demand," the company had to stop accepting pre-orders of the phone, though you can now purchase it online or possibly nab one at your local store with some luck. The problem with the phone is that T-Mobile has restricted consumers from making any permanent changes to the Android software that runs the device.

The Android operating system has been touted as one of the most versatile, with Google opening up its source code so that anyone could make their own tweaks and modifications.

The feature included by T-Mobile means that you can't install any third-party software that the cell phone carrier doesn't approve of. Made possible by a microchip installed in the G2, any alteration to the software can be overwritten by the hardware, reverting the phone to its original state.

The reason for T-Mobile's behavior is a mystery. Android was marketed as open-source software, appealing highly to the technology-tinkering community. You would have thought that they would have learned from the furor over Motorola's mistake of including the eFuse in the Droid X--technology that made this phone considerably more difficult to customize than HTC's Android offerings. This did not bode well with the smartphone techies. Unsurprisingly, the same angered programmers are furiously working at a fix for the G2 via a 47-page-and-growing message board thread.

The Android niche is a place where opportunity lies.

Google's CEO Eric Schmidt recently commented to Newsweek that Android development is a very viable, billion-dollar business. On Tuesday, Android was recognized as the most preferred mobile operating system—ahead of both the Blackberry and the iPhone—with activation of more than 200,000 phones a day. Unfortunately for T-Mobile, the competition is fierce for which company's phones are being activated with the Android software.

Among a plethora of other Android-related news updates, AT&T just recently announced three new phones based on the operating system, and Samsung has sold 5,000,00 Galaxy S phones in four months worldwide.

To make matters worse, the strongest news yet of a Verizon release of Apple's iPhone next year will arguably be seen as a step by Apple to counteract the Google-fueled Android phenomenon.

T-Mobile definitely does have game though. WiFi calling, a feature exclusive to T-Mobile that supplements its calling network, will soon be available on Android based phones. The release of the G2 will definitely aid them in their ambitions despite the mistake on their part to lock down the operating system. To be fair, most of us will not attempt to hack a phone anyway. Microchip aside, the G2 is a formidable presence in the smartphone because of its amazing specifications and performance.

As this battle grows more heated by the day, we as consumers are benefiting from the increasingly advanced phones. Who knows? Perhaps the day when such pieces of technology are standard rather than exclusive will come sooner than we thought.

To reach reporter Daniel Lee, click here.



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