Wal-Mart's G1 Phone Discount Irks Early Android Adopters
As Wired is reporting, there is whining going on over Wal-Mart's decision to sell the T-Mobile G1 Android-based phone for $150--$30 less than it costs at a T-Mobile store. This caterwauling and gnashing of teeth is reminiscent of the mudslinging that went on after Apple reduced the cost of the iPhone by $200 only months after it came out. Here's what people are saying, and why the G1 ought to arrive at even lower price points.
"To say I'm bitter would be an understatement, considering I shelled out full price -- $179.99 plus more for add-ons--for the T-Mobile G1 exactly one week ago," writes ChannelWeb. I completely agree with Wired's piece, though: "Prices drop, and the early adopter knows that better than anyone."
Come on now, anyone who buys version 1.0 technology within days of its availability ought to know that short-term price drops and bug fixes are par for the course. We talked about this from the bug-fixing and technology improvement perspective for Android this week.
I actually think Google would be smart to subsidize some of the cost of the G1 phone, and possibly other early Android-based phones. These phones can take a lot of people to Google's search and services. A $99 price point, with cheaper service plans, would make the phone attractive to many people when compared with the iPhone.
Google should also aggressively pursue funding Android application development. They've done this with baby steps so far, but there is a $100 million fund for iPhone application development, and RIM has a $150 million fund for Blackberry development. One way or another, I bet we'll see an Android phone for $99 in the next few months. Maybe the first one will come from open source handset player OpenMoko, which may have an Android handset ready in November.