November 26, 2014

Romancing the Stone: The Project Emerald Saga

As many of our readers here at Android Guys know, Project Emerald is something of an obsession for me as a writer and T-Mo Android user.  The number one question of course is “what in the world is Project Emerald?!?!” Is it a tablet?  Is it a new Sidekick?  Is it the long awaited superphone to put T-Mobile back on the map with Android users?  My goal with this article is to bring together everything we know about Emerald so far, and try to make sense out of what it could be.  Read on after the break to get the latest updates on what we know about Emerald.

My journey with Emerald started way back in May when T-Mo News first broke the information that T-Mobile was working on a secret project called Emerald.  After some digging of my own, I made the prediction that the Emerald was going to the Samsung Galaxy S.  I based this prediction on two different sources that gave confirmation that Samsung would be releasing the Galaxy S on T-Mobile.

As we all know now, Emerald is NOT the Galaxy S, now known as the T-Mo Vibrant, but we did get the Galaxy S info right with the exception of the front facing camera, so on that one I can kind of grin and take a partial win.

The next information drop on Emerald came just a few short weeks ago when our own Scotty Brown got some inside info from a T-Mo rep at the HTC Seattle event. According to this rep, T-Mo was working with HTC to create the world’s first dual core processor super phone, complete with a 4.3 inch screen and front facing camera.  The screen would be sporting a tech that we supposedly have never seen before. Also, it was going to be running “Android 3,” which we assume means Gingerbread.  In essence, a groundbreaking EVO-like device but with more horsepower.  When Scotty asked the rep if this dual core handset was Project Emerald, the rep stopped talking and ended the conversation.  Scotty Brown’s impression was that the rep felt like he may have said too much.  This is conjecture of course, but the conversation did end abruptly when Emerald was mentioned.

While Scotty was getting that info, we were getting some interesting information on a handset called the HTC Vision.  On the Android Guys Thursday Night Summer Extravaganza Podcast, I had already made the call that the HTC Vision was indeed this EVO-like device, and could very well be Project Emerald.

Which brings us up to this week, which has brought a torrent of info about T-Mo, the Vision and Emerald itself.

Let’s start with the HTC Vision information that dropped recently.  First,  of which is the image which leaked out of Croatia Engadget posted a leaked image (see left) of the device (which we discussed as well).  Endgadget reported that the Vision will have a 3.7 inch display, run Android 2.1, have a 1gHz processor and is indeed coming to T-Mo in the early fall.

From this report, there we can infer that the HTC Vision is not the fabled Project Emerald, for the following reasons:

  • A 3.7 inch display – not the 4.3 inch display the T-Mo rep mentioned.
  • Said display does not look to be something “we have not seen before.”
  • 1 gHz single core processor phone
  • Being released in September, which contradicts what we heard in our next info drop on the subject:

2 days ago, Android Spin released a leaked T-Mo roadmap for the remainder of 2010:

This roadmap gives us two important pieces of info about Emerald and the HTC Vision.  First, we see that if the HTC Vision is releasing in September, it cannot be Emerald.  Indeed, if that is the case the HTC Vision is going to be renamed the “Vanguard” when it launches on T-MO.

Second, and more intriguing, is that Emerald is indeed a HTC device.  Look at the graphic in November.  Do you see the very top phone listed?  Yep, it is called “Emerald” and has the HTC logo above it.  This image gives us some visual confirmation that perhaps we are on the right track with the info that Scotty Brown got in Seattle, that Emerald could indeed be the world’s first dual core smartphone.  Getting excited yet?

But wait a second!  How do we know that Emerald is a phone? Hasn’t it been said that HTC could be working with T-Mo to release an Android-powered tablet?  Couldn’t that be what Emerald is?  Not according to HTC!  In a July 9 article on Pocket Lint, the following quote nixes that possibility:

“Eric Lin, the company’s global PR and online community manager, told Pocket-lint: ‘We are always looking at it, but, right now, the whole idea is that in order to be successful with a tablet, you need to have something compelling. And not just a compelling form factor.’

“And that means HTC is happy to sit back and see what the rest of the market does first…”

HTC’s Global PR Manager says they are not releasing a tablet any time soon, so Emerald has to be a handset.  Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

So with all the information that we have listed above, we arrive at what we know (or think we know) about Project Emerald:

  • Being released in November
  • Release date matches up with the dual core superphone info that Scotty Brown heard from a T-mo rep.
  • 4.3 inch screen with a technology that we have not seen before.
  • World’s first dual core phone, possibly running on the qualcomm dual chipset.
  • One of the first Gingerbread phones on the market. (We assume that’s what the T-Mo rep meant by “Android 3.”)
  • Definitely a HTC Product.
  • Not a tablet.

Another  open question is whether Emerald may be a “Sidekick” branded handset, though we do have some clues.  T-Mo recently stopped selling the old Sidekick models they had in stock , making some believe that they are clearing the way for a new Sidekick to be released.  Could the Emerald superphone be named “Sidekick”? It’s a possibility, but the name would be the only thing that this phone would share with other Sidekicks, since Team Danger has long since gone to Microsoft to work on the doomed Kin device.  T-Mo still owns the name Sidekick, so they can paste it onto anything want.  Either way, I do not think the Sidekick branding will come into play here, as the phone’s real appeal will be its powerhouse specs if they prove to be true.

In part two of this article, we are going to take a look at the rumored specs of this super device that T-Mo is working on, speculate about what the screen tech could be, and consider whether it will help T-Mo get back into the Android game in a big way.  Look for it soon!



  • http://twitter.com/scottyabrown @scottyabrown

    Good job, Ray. I'm glad to hear that the Vision is NOT Emerald. I'm hoping that if Emerald has a qwerty (which I don't think it will), that it is a 5 row. 4 row keyboards are useless, imo.

    Also, here's an idea… What if Emerald was Nexus 2? Think about it, Nexus 1 was ground breaking… this will be as well. Since Emerald is likely only a code name, I wonder if HTC would brand it Nexus 2?

    Just my thoughts…

    • newton

      Google has already said a nexus 2 will not be released.
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/google/7864

      as much as that pains me being a proud nexus one owner and all.

      • http://twitter.com/scottyabrown @scottyabrown

        I don't think that means much at all, truthfully. Just because they "say" something doesn't mean that they won't change their mind or just do it anyway.

  • Josh

    Great work Ray, Im ready for T-Mo to get some better Android handsets on the market. Looking at the current Android offerings T-Mo has compared to Verizon is pathetic, and the fragmentation is terrible. It’s a slap in the face to new Android users to still be selling 1.5 devices like the Cliq and Cliq XT. I was an early adoptee of Android and I love the platform but thanks to T-Mobile, the iPhone is looking better and better every day.

  • Jeesh

    I sure hope they don't use the sidekick name. I know too many people disappointed with Sidekicks. If it is labeled a Sidekick, be sure to be ready for a clunkier, physical keyboard attached.

    @scottyabrown : Nexus phones appear to be done.. at least for now. All branding on that T-Mo roadmap seems to accurate. I doubt any name changes will happen. Although I wouldn't doubt T-Mo adding their "mytouch" crap to it somehow.

    This is a chance for T-Mo to bring themselves back up from the basement, but they always seem to screw it up somehow. Prove me wrong T-Mo. Otherwise, Sprint or Verizon – here I come.

  • academic

    I think vision will be a sidekick

  • ryan

    as long as it doesnt have a qwerty keyboard i will for sure be getting this phone!! 4.3 screen + qwerty keyboard is way too big IMO

  • http://twitter.com/dethduck @dethduck

    Like ryan above me, I think the Vision/Vanguard will be the new "Sidekick" branded phone. Either way, I WILL get the Emerald if it is the rumored phone Scotty Brown talked about with the dual cores and the 4.3 screen. This will be the phone that gets my to put my MT3G down, particularly since i will have had it for over a year by that point, hopefully getting me a partial upgrade discount.

  • Gene Rogers

    Awesome investigative reporting!! Google dropped the Nexus One on T-Mobile first… it was rumored that T-Mobile got first dibs on the Nexus One because they have been a Loyal Android carrier since day 1. With Sprint and Verizon snubbing Google on the Nexus One, this could certainly be the long awaited Nexus Two; however, this time around, Google certainly learned their lessons and will let T-Mobile push the device themselves. What would be cool is if Google sold a dev version of Project Emerald in their phone store, and left the consumer version to T-Mobile.

  • chris

    so what makes me angry here (and it has nothing to do with this website) is I need a new phone pronto. my G1 is on life support and I thought it was going to be galaxy s, but now that this is just around the corner I dont know what to do.

  • http://twitter.com/michaelklurfeld @michaelklurfeld

    That reported leaked image of the HTC Vision is most likely fake. Pocket-Lint did a great article on it, and I basically agree with them on every point: http://www.pocket-lint.com/news/34109/reasons-lea

    A 4.3" HTC Android phone on a GSM provider is basically exactly what I want. If one comes on T-Mobile, it'll be the perfect reason to replace my stupid iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/madhatter7zero @madhatter7zero

    You are making me crazy LOL. I still have my MyTouch (first edition) and all of these new phones coming out are eating me up with jealousy and I have promised myself I wasn't going to buy another new phone until my current contract expires….. which means I won't be getting "emerald" or whatever it is…… unless I decide to upgrade with my other phone on my account which has expired it's contract… but I hate to do that….. anyway I'll keep watching your site to see what this phone is going to be. I visit almost every day.

  • ChrisB

    Currently have a nexus1 and will get the emerald IF it doesnt have a qwerty keyboard.
    NO physical keyboard = more sexyness, slimmer, and sturdier. (no sliding mechanism to break after long use)

  • Android

    Everything so far makes sense EXCEPT Android 3.0 Gingerbread. 2.2 Froyo is just out of the gate. As much as I want this to be true, I highly doubt we will see official Gingerbread anytime this year

    • newton

      The release of Gingerbread would like only have bug fixes and a couple of improvements over froyo but the biggest element they would be releasing is a new UI, so i think it is highly believable that gingerbread will come out this year. while the next and future iterations may be released annually.

  • theweakend

    I currently have an N1 and would like to get a Emerald just for the dual core and the screen whatever it maybe but if it doesn't have vanilla android well they just lost my sell

  • http://twitter.com/miniZtv @miniZtv

    I officially love you guys. I have new standards now with my Nexus One. I want a large phone without a physical keyboard, that will set me above everyone else. And I like my vanilla android. I have gotten that exact impression from everyone here. I was an AndroidCentral guy, but add one more to my daily viewing!

  • Jonny

    If I might sweeten the deal…I talked to a rep the other day who confirmed it will have a slide out keyboard. Couldn't get any other details out of him though…

  • dragonithe

    this is really nice,
    however, i have one little problem whit it.

    HTC did indeed tell us that they are not working on a tablet now, BUT, i think that will change whit "android 3" because of the new resolution that would defiantly fit tablets better (1280*720).

    just my 2 cents

  • Tanner

    I think it will be a sidekick /HTC FUSION like it will be called the HTC twist or sidekick twist

  • http://yohan06.student.ipb.ac.id yohan

    thanks for sharing :)

  • http://twitter.com/BigRu @BigRu

    New app for Project Emerald?? Search on the market for T-Mobile Social Buzz & T-mobile Social Service. made by Mobile Software Development T-Mobile USA. It show t-mobile.com as website. The app isn't bad but nothing special, but we will have to see what t-mobile is up to.

  • http://twitter.com/BigRu @BigRu

    Never mind should have searched then post http://goo.gl/GvIU

  • zak

    When is part two of this article coming? I've been checking back here frequently for it.

  • Jason

    If it has a physical keyboard, I will buy it. That is what I have been waiting for, a high end Android with a keyboard. I have been with Tmobile for over 8 years, so I have no plans on switching to any other carriers. I have a G1 now, so it will just need to hold up for a few more months.

    I hate on screen keyboards. Whats the point of having a 4.3 inch screen if 2 inches of that are taken up by the on screen keyboard? And it is much easier to play all the games I play with an actual keyboard.

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