Rumors Swirl Around T-Mobile Android Phone

Blogs light up over speculation that T-Mobile is prepping the HTC Dream for an Oct. 1 release.

Rumors are circulating in the blogosphere that T-Mobile USA plans to introduce an Android handset this fall along with the company's rollout of 3G services. If true, T-Mobile would be the first to the commercial market with a phone powered by Google's new open-source mobile operating system.

TmoNews got the rumor mill churning July 5 with its report that "T-mobile will release the Sony Ericsson Bella as their flagship 3G device, as well as the 3G Android handset and another unknown high-end 3G device." The site pegged Oct. 1 as the national rollout for T-Mobile's third-generation wireless service.

The blog based its report on an anonymous tip and warned readers to "take this one with a whole damn bucket of salt," although, "We checked out much of the tip and have only found good things." TmoNews also speculated the Android unit would be HTC's Dream handset. HTC is a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance.

Despite the caveat emptor nature of the news, CNET jumped right in and wrote about the rumor, prompting dozens of bloggers to cut and paste the post as if it were their own, some with attribution and some not.

While CNET quoted T-Mobile as not commenting on the Android rumor, a T-Mobile spokesperson told eWEEK the nation's No. 4 wireless carrier is "working towards delivering an Android-based phone in Q4" of 2008. As for the Oct. 1 rollout date, the T-Mobile flack noted that the company already offers 3G service in New York City and plans to offer 3G service in 20 to 25 "core markets" by end of the year.

Over at AndroidGuys, debunking the rumors was the order of the day. "It's difficult for us to believe this October launch for the phone," the guys wrote. "The network? Yeah, sure we could see that. It seems more likely that T-Mobile is pushing harder to speed the rollout up specifically for the Dream."

As for the Dream device itself, Tech.Blorge reports, "There isn't a lot of information on the HTC Dream as of yet, but HTC does brag that the Dream will be the first handset boasting Google Android."

The site added, "The Dream will have a haptic feedback-equipped touch-screen with outward navigation controls, a full QWERTY keyboard that either swivels or slides away, and of course, the undying appeal that comes with being the first phone with Android."

Tech.Blorge wisely noted, however, "Rumors are rumors. All we can do is hope, right?"