By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
T-Mobile will support the Aug. 5 nationwide rollout of its second Android-based 3G smartphone with a major mid-August ad campaign.
The launch of the $199 touchscreen-equipped MyTouch 3G will be backed by a TV, print and online ad campaign focused on consumers' ability to personalize the device. The size of the campaign was not disclosed.
The smartphone features onscreen QWERTY keyboard and dialing keypad. It will join the carrier's first Android-based phone, the G1, launched last October with touchscreen and horizontal-sliding keyboard. The carrier will offer “additional ones” [Android phones] in the second half, added Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer.
The MyTouch ad campaign, themed 100 Percent You, will be the carrier's second ad campaign to focus on a single handset. The first such campaign supported last October's launch of T-Mobile's first Android-based smartphone, the G-1. The carrier's budget for the new campaign will be “similar” to the budget for the G-1 launch, said Andrew Sherrard, VP/GM of T-Mobile's MyTouch program.
The campaign will highlight notable personalities and how they personalize their phone through replaceable shells and an OS that lets users select the widgets, applications, Web links, music playlists or folders that can be launched from home-screen icons.
Retail outlets participating in the national launch include all T-Mobile-owned stores, Best Buy and the cellular kiosks in Walmart, Costco and Sam's Club. T-Mobile is also in discussions with other major retailers to offer the phone, Sherrard said.
Major indirect retailers will support the launch of the $199 device with their own advertising, Sherrard added. In a departure from past practice, the carrier's indirect retailers will also support the launch by purchasing compatible accessories from T-Mobile, Sherrard said.
Also to support the launch, salespeople in T-Mobile stores and in indirect channels have been trained to set up the phone, including its email applications, and personalize the phone for customers before they leave the store, said Brodman. Consumers will also be able to schedule one-on-one appointments with T-Mobile salespeople and attend workshops at T-Mobile stores to learn about the phone, he said.
Although user customization of home-page icons is a feature of the first Android phone, T-Mobile is making customization the main message in its ad campaign, its sales-training program and its in-box tips-and-tricks foldout panel. With the G1, T-Mobile found that many purchasers haven't discovered the G1's customization capabilities, Sherrard said.
The MyTouch differs from the G1 in several ways. It's thinner and lighter, given the lack of slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and it comes with larger battery with 16 percent more capacity. Unlike the G1, MyTouch supports Microsoft Exchange for corporate email and basic Microsoft ActiveSync functions for basic enterprise security, said John Lee, senior product manager for Android phones.
The MyTouch $199 price requires a two-year service contract and one of two Android-specific data plans at $25 or $35/month, both including free T-Mobile Wi-Fi HotSpot access.
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