updated 10:20 am EDT, Tue September 23, 2008
Amazon T-Mo G1 Music Store
Amazon today preceded the launch of the T-Mobile G1 by announcing its rumored online music store for the new Android phone, putting the device in close competition with the iPhone. The service gives owners of T-Mobile's imminent smartphone access to the full, unprotected MP3 catalog of Amazon's store and thus lets customers copy tracks back to a computer or another device, including iPods, Macs and Zunes.
Like Apple's iTunes access on the iPhone, however, policy decisions will limit where users can use Amazon's store. Although songs and albums will still cost as little as 89 cents and $6 respectively, only basic browsing and samples will be accessible from the cellular network. Downloads of full albums and individual songs will be limited to Wi-Fi to avoid affecting bandwidth costs.
The software will be preloaded on G1s when it ships, which is expected later this month. No mention has been made of a claimed Amazon video store for the G1; the now discredited launch of such a service would have been complicated by the absence of support for copy protected music as well as the necessity for either a Flash plugin or a dedicated client.
In addition to Amazon's new store, the G1 and other Android phones are expected to compete against the iPhone through the existence of Android Market, a central store for downloadable apps that will focus on free software and carry less restrictions than Apple's App Store.