Is the Google Android platform the upcoming smartphone of choice?

Summary:My T-Mobile SIM is setup for my T-Mobile G1 Google Android device that I have owned since day 1 (see my full review) and continue to enjoy with the updates and growing Android Market application selection. T-Mobile was the first US wireless carrier to support Android and then rolled out the T-Mobile myTouch 3G to add a second Android and become the carrier of choice for Android fans. T-Mobile will be launching a third Android device, the Motorola CLIQ, very soon, but they are no longer the exclusive Android carrier. Sprint has the awesome HTC Hero with the Samsung Moment coming soon and Verizon will have a couple of devices in 2010. AT&T has nothing announced yet, but there are rumors of a Dell handset. When you decide you want an iPhone, you only have one choice in carrier and form factor, but when you now consider an Android device you can stay with your carrier and/or have a choice in form factor. Let's take a closer look at what Android devices are or will be coming to each carrier in the US, followed by my thoughts on what I have found to be the best so far.

My T-Mobile SIM is setup for my T-Mobile G1 Google Android device that I have owned since day 1 (see my full review) and continue to enjoy with the updates and growing Android Market application selection. T-Mobile was the first US wireless carrier to support Android and then rolled out the T-Mobile myTouch 3G to add a second Android and become the carrier of choice for Android fans. T-Mobile will be launching a third Android device, the Motorola CLIQ, very soon, but they are no longer the exclusive Android carrier. Sprint has the awesome HTC Hero with the Samsung Moment coming soon and Verizon will have a couple of devices in 2010. AT&T has nothing announced yet, but there are rumors of a Dell handset. When you decide you want an iPhone, you only have one choice in carrier and form factor, but when you now consider an Android device you can stay with your carrier and/or have a choice in form factor. Let's take a closer look at what Android devices are or will be coming to each carrier in the US, followed by my thoughts on what I have found to be the best so far.

T-Mobile

I'll start with T-Mobile since they were the first to support the Google Android platform. You currently have two choices at T-Mobile with a fourth coming soon. Here are the known choices on T-Mobile:
  • T-Mobile G1
  • T-Mobile myTouch 3G
  • Motorola CLIQ
  • Samsung Behold II
  • T-Mobile myTouch 3G Fender Edition

The T-Mobile G1 is the first Android device and can still be found at T-Mobile. It is a bit clunky, but it has a fantastic keyboard and is the primary Android device I still use today. The myTouch 3G drops the keyboard, gets a nice facelift, doubles the onboard memory, and gives you lots of customization options. I really liked the myTouch 3G and would buy one in a second if it had the HTC Sense UI (discussed below in the Hero portion) integration on board. The Motorola CLIQ (see Andrew's thoughts) is coming soon and will be the second Android device on T-Mobile with a hardware QWERTY keyboard. This device is being marketed as a social networking powerhouse and is a good device to consider. I was caught a bit off guard with the Samsung Behold II announcement and this device will give the myTouch 3G a run for its money with a 3.2 inch AMOLED display, Samsung TouchWiz user interface, and other Samsung customizations. The myTouch 3G Fender Edition adds standard 3.5mm headset jack and there will only be 10,000 of these made available in time for the holidays. I didn't count this as a 5th option since it is almost the same as the myTouch 3G.

As you can see, T-Mobile will have plenty of options for every Android fan and will retain the crown as the Google Android carrier to beat.

Sprint

The second carrier to have a Google Android available is Sprint and they came out swinging with the HTC Hero. I just returned my review unit today and after a few weeks of playing with the device I am still thinking of adding a Sprint account just to get the Hero. I found it to be an extremely compelling device, in large part due to the awesome customizations provided by HTC with their Sense UI. I loved the conversation view in Exchange, the HTC homescreen layout (7 screens and multiple scenes), the HTC widgets, and more. The hardware is rock solid and if you are on Sprint I have absolutely the highest recommendation for the HTC Hero as the device to purchase.

Sprint also announced the Samsung Moment that will be the first Android device with a processor better than the 528 MHz Qualcomm one found in most all other Android devices. It will use an ARM 11 800 MHz processor and I can't wait to see how this performs. The Moment gives Sprint customers a choice in form factor since it has a QWERTY keyboard. I have yet to see the Moment in person and cannot give my opinion on how it performs, but my bar is set pretty high with the HTC Hero at the moment.

Verizon Wireless

Google and Verizon announced a partnership last week that will see Google Android devices launched in 2010. The photo of Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, and Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, showed a couple of devices that we should see in 2010. Rumors have one being called the Motorola Sholes and the other a possible HTC one similar to the HTC Hero with Sense UI. At this time, there has been no official device announcements so stay tuned for more from Verizon Wireless.

AT&T

AT&T is the home of the iPhone and there has not yet been any announcements of a Google Android device being launched with them so there is no choice here when it comes to Android devices. There has been some talk that Dell will launch an Android device with AT&T in 2010, but there has been talk of Dell smartphones in the past that never launched so we will have to wait and see what happens.

Which Android device do I recommend?

As you can see above, the carrier of choice for Google Android remains T-Mobile with lots of available options in form factor and price. I am sure we will see even more in 2010. Just looking at currently available devices, I consider the Sprint HTC Hero to be the leading Google Android device and highly recommend it. There are some very compelling devices coming soon to seriously consider, including the Motorola CLIQ, Samsung Behold II, and Samsung Moment. We should see some devices from Verizon Wireless and AT&T in 2010 and I think 2010 will be the year of Android here in the US.

Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, HTC, Mobile OS, Mobility, Smartphones, Telcos

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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