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First Android phone will not be competitive

Don't call an Internet terminal a phone, jack up the data rate, show something that's nothing but me-too, and expect big success.

HTC Dream phone, picture from Google, May 2008
It's official.

On September 17, HTC will debut its first phone based on the Android specifications, on T-Mobile's network.

Here's a YouTube of it. It's called the Dream, it's made by HTC of China. It features a touchscreen with icons, and five buttons on a slide-out pad.

A live demo of the phone appeared in May.

While the HTC has some of the look-and-feel of the iPhone, I am underwhelmed. This is only partly because it looks so much like an iPhone knock-off.

It's also because, as VentureBeat reports, T-Mobile is going to launch the phone with a special, high-priced data plan. In other words they're going to discourage people from using it for its central purpose, as an Internet terminal.

Why? Probably it's because the T-Mobile network has less bandwidth than other carriers. In any case it's an unfair test.

Don't call an Internet terminal a phone, jack up the data rate, show something that's nothing but me-too, and expect big success.

I doubt we'll get any real Android answers until after the Sprint-Clearwire-Google WiMax network starts to roll out.