T-Mobile USA plans to begin selling the first smart phone powered by Google Inc.'s new mobile software late next month, according to people familiar with the matter, facing off against Apple Inc.'s iPhone and Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry with a device that blends aspects of both.
While some wireless companies working with Google's Android mobile software have hit delays, the T-Mobile phone is coming out on schedule. Backers are optimistic Android-based handsets can take sales from rivals.
The phone's manufacturer, HTC Corp., forecasts sales that are rosier than analysts' estimates. HTC says it expects to ship 600,000 to 700,000 units of the smart phone, dubbed the Dream, this year, a person close to the situation said Monday. The target exceeds analysts' estimates of 300,000 to 500,000.
T-Mobile, a Deutsche Telekom AG unit, is expected to announce the phone Sept. 23, people familiar with the matter said. The device is due to hit stores as soon as the end of October, these people said. The phone's pricing couldn't be determined.
HTC, which is based in Taiwan and is a large provider of phones for Microsoft Corp.'s mobile software, declined to comment beyond saying it would ship its first Android-based device later this year. Google and T-Mobile representatives declined to comment.
Anticipation around the phone -- the first based on Android -- has been mounting for months, and the companies face pressure to impress. The Federal Communications Commission granted authorization for the HTC Dream, which enables T-Mobile to market it, last month.
While the phone is targeted at the same sort of technology-savvy consumers who have been buying iPhones, it has a very different look and feel. It is expected to be heavier than the iPhone, according to people familiar with it, and it is likely to have a large touch screen, a swivel-out full keyboard and a BlackBerry-style trackball to help with navigation.
T-Mobile USA is introducing the high-profile device as it begins to upgrade its network nationwide to support third-generation broadband services. Google hopes that hundreds of phone models will be built around Android, giving the company another way to deliver advertisements and drive revenue.