Ina Fried

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No iPhone in Sight, T-Mobile Doubles Down on Android

Not expecting to be part of next week’s iPhone party, T-Mobile on Monday announced two new phones that it hopes will keep it in the forefront of the minds of consumers looking for a powerful smartphone.

One is its flavor of Samsung’s Galaxy S II. The other phone is the HTC Amaze 4G, a phone that packs a number of advanced camera features, including the ability to create a group shot using the best smile for each person from various shots. It also packs a number of camera features, first introduced on the MyTouch Slide 4G. Both phones run on the fastest flavor of T-Mobile’s network, a standard called HSPA+42 that T-Mobile now has available in 150 markets across the U.S.

“We don’t believe these devices need to take a back seat to anyone,” T-Mobile chief marketing officer Cole Brodman said in an interview on Monday.

While it is putting a brave face on things, T-Mobile knows that it faces a hurdle if, as expected, it is the only major U.S. carrier not to be selling an iPhone after Apple’s latest announcements next week.

“The iPhone is a great device,” Brodman said. “We’d love to have it.” That said, Brodman isn’t expecting to get one any time soon.

“If we were to get an iPhone this year, nobody has told us,” Brodman said. AT&T and Verizon already sell Apple’s iPhone, while Sprint is also expected to start selling the iPhone later this year.

Without an iPhone, T-Mobile plans to continue its focus on Android, which makes up 90 percent of T-Mobile’s smartphone sales.

“We’re preparing to run this year and into 2012 primarily with Android and Blackberry and Windows Phone 7,” he said.

The company is also pushing heavily on the pricing side, looking to undercut the competition with cheaper rate plans and its approach to unlimited, which doesn’t charge overages but throttles down the data rate once users hit a certain amount of data.

But, even on the Android side, T-Mobile faces plenty of competition. Sprint has already launched its version of the Galaxy S II — the Epic 4G Touch — and AT&T has also announced plans to carry the Galaxy S II.

Though being announced today, both phones aren’t due on store shelves until next month. The phones are slated for pre-sale online starting Oct. 10 and at T-Mobile stores and select retailers starting Oct. 12. The HTC Amaze is priced at $259.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate card with a new two-year contract, while the Galaxy S II is priced at $229.99 after $50 rebate card.

Update: Brodman is now introducing the two new devices at GigaOM’s Mobilize conference in San Francisco.

One interesting stat that Brodman threw out there: Brodman said phones running on T-Mobile’s 4G network make up about 15 percent of smartphones, but account for half of data traffic. And of that 4G data traffic, half is video.

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