G1’s Going for Under $100… But Why?



Sometimes we hold off publishing certain articles on AndroidGuys simply because know that it would be redundant to post something that’s clearly made its way around the net.  Such is the case with the stories making their way around other Android and mobile gadget sites.  In case you haven’t heard, the T-Mobile G1 is on sale for $97.99 at Amazon right now. That’s over half off the normal selling price!

To be clear, it’s the black edition only.  It’s unknown why the bronze and white models haven’t been given the deep discount, or if there are plans to do so.  Rob at Phandroid told us today about Costco’s even better deal of $80 handsets.  Is this the beginning of a total G1 liquidation or are these isolated incidents?  We could wait and see, but isn’t it more fun to speculate and debate?

There are a handful of reasons as to why the G1 is going for this price, all of which are unconfirmed. Let’s take a look at the three most obvious reasons…

  • The G2 is right around the corner
  • The black model is not selling as well compared to the others
  • These vendors are clearing out their own stock and this has nothing to do with the G1 as a whole

The G2 is right around the corner – CTIA is coming up and the rumor mill is starting again.  Folks are starting to expect T-Mobile to announce the G2, or US version of the HTC Magic.  Although it would make sense to see a new Android handset from T-Mobile, it’s not guaranteed.  One could hope that after 6 months that we’re ready to get our second device from the carrier.

The black model is not selling as well compared to the others – When the G1 was announced and preorders became available, the hottest color seemed to be white. In fact, for a while, the white was unavailable to order.  Now I haven’t seen any G1’s in my town, save for one the first week of launch so I can’t say what is popular in your neck of the woods.  The one G1 owner I ran into had a black one and he said he picked it because “they were out of white and the copper one just didn’t do it for me.”

Maybe T-Mobile and HTC ordered up way more black models than other colors.  After all, black is the new black.  It wouldn’t surprise me if they put out twice as many of the black G1’s as the other colors.  So, let’s assume it is selling just as well.  They still would have to move twice as many overall.

These vendors are clearing out their own stock and this has nothing to do with the G1 as a whole – This is me throwing darts, but perhaps a certain time frame has passed and outlets now have the ability to subsidize costs and/or make up their own pricing.  Places like Costco might be sitting on an awful lot of phones and looking to dump them quicker.  Their coupon doesn’t say anything about the colors, so maybe they just want to move through all of them.

On the other hand, maybe Amazon and Costco have a strong sense that a new phone is right around the corner.  Maybe their purchasing agents know something we don’t.  Maybe a little birdy told them something about G2’s.

What do you readers think?  Is there a particular reason that the G1 is selling for such a low price all of a sudden?  Do you expect the trend to continue?  Leave us your opinion in the comments below.


  1. I'm a bit upset, because I jumped on the bandwagon, wanting the G1 because of Android, and the capabilities and potential it had to offer. I bought, my phone, pre-ordered it and everything, before my contract was up, $300 it was. ( I love my phone) now I'm seeing it at 80 dollars 90 dollars. This saddens me, because I that's a huge mark off, from what I paid. As much as a G2 would be cool to have with the cupcake options, my $300 phone has to last me for a long time.

  2. Amazon is missing the cheapest ($29.99) monthly voice plan for those who don't want more than 300 weekday minutes. They also charge the line activation fee ($35) which can be waived some other club memeberships. Comes out to about the same after accounting for these differences.

  3. Pretty much the same thing happened to me with the first iPhone… people begged for money back from Apple… remember that $200 store credit they gave back to us? It made sense to beg from Apple because they're kind of evil… but who would we beg from in this situation? AT&T?

  4. The White and Bronze versions are ugly because of their silver keyboards. The all-black version of the G1 is the only decent looking model, in my opinion. I really don't think that T-Mobile is going to replace the G1 with the HTC Magic. They have the exact same hardware, just one has a keyboard and the other doesn't. It makes perfect sense to sell them side-by-side to have all the options covered, since this is really more of a personal preference thing than a clear step forward.

  5. I want it for $100 but WITHOUT a stupid contract. Seriously guys, $97 isn't cheap when you are forced to signup for a $1500 2-year contract when buying it. In fact, the G1 should be free or they should even give you a free laptop or an Xbox or something, when you signup. I mean comon!! In Europe all phones are FREE and they even give you Wii or Xbox or a bicycle when you signup for such a totally BS 2-year contract. I guess people in the USA are more used to getting screwed by their favorite giant Telecom corporations.

  6. I don't care about the contracts they mean nothing to me. I have been with all major cell companies in the area. T-mobile (or when they were voicestream) are the only company that has NEVER screwed me over. They have been helpful, and upfront. I've been a very loyal customer and will never switch back to Sprint or Verizon or AT&T for that matter. So, if I get an contract with T-mobile I don't care they are who I choose to be with anyway, not because of their phones but because of their service.

  7. It probably doesn't cost HTC much more than $100 to actually manufacture the G1 device. So really, it makes no sense to enjoy signing up for 2-year contracts with big and evil telecom companies. By signing up for 2 years you basically force yourself to use that device for the next two years, instead of easilly being able to upgrade to the G2, G3 or a totally other manufacturer such as Samsung, Motorola or Archos that comes out a few months later. Signing up for 2 year contracts is stupid. If you don't start complaining about it loudly on the Internet, the big evil companies aren't going to be changing their contract plans. In europe, such as in Denmark, there are laws deciding that cell phone contracts may not be any longer than 6 months. That is much more civilized. We still get cheap or free subsidized smartphones and the cell phone companies are all still making a lot of money. We just get much less screwed than American consumers.

  8. Amazon and Costco are just crazy.. they must be making razor thin margins on selling the G1 at $97. This represents the absolute bottom an online retailer or membership subsidized club can sell you the phone. Was something that was bound to happen with open distribution compared to the locked down Apple Store or AT&T corporate store distribution available to the iPhone. This should be music the the ears of all the original iPhone users coming up on their two year contracts and ready to enjoy all the amazing things Android and the G1 have to offer.

  9. The price cuts are too severe given the G2 is an inferior product to the G1. It's not like a better product is coming…. their loss…

  10. Well the Iphone 3g is not even a year old. I'm not rejoicing in the contract, but I honestly don't care, about them, if I honestly wanted a phone, I'll buy it outright just like I bought the G1 9 months before my contract was up. or when I went back to T-mobile from sprint I just broke it and paid it off. (long run worth it) If someone wants something they will come up with the means to do so. Yeah it sucks that the g1 is so damn cheap now, but there is nothing I can do. I just got bragging rights to the fact I had it from the beginning. I believe in Android I think it has enough potential to be a major OS in this world. So even if I'm upset at the price I have no regrets toward it. sadly I can't upgrade until until I find that my investment is spent.

  11. Price without a contract is still $399 right? The only price drop is with a new 2 year contract from Amazon or Costco.

  12. Actually, the real reason is sheer brilliance and T-Mobile's part. The G1 is only the 8th ranking phone for T-Mobile in terms of unit sells. Yet, it is there highest revenue-generating product due to service contracts. They make a KILLING off of service contracts for the G1. So T-Mobile has adopted a similar philosophy to car dealerships that make far more on the service and parts than on sell of cars themselves (which is why you can talk down the price of a car at a sell if you know what you're doing). Basically, T-Mobile is being loose with deals to volume resellers because they want more service contracts. They have no intention of making money on the phones themselves. Those of you that jumped the gun and bought yours for $200+ need to learn patience.

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