A Slashdot story reports:

“Google has announced an unlocked version of T-Mobile’s G1 for sale at the same unlocked price of $399. The Android Dev Phone 1 is the G1, except being truly open

This looks like the Open Handset Alliance delivering the promised Open Handset: yes root, yes flash-your-build, no contract, no strings attached.”

While the Android Dev Phone 1 is available to anyone with an Android Market account, which anyone can get, the phone does cost ~$220 more than the subsidized price of $179 from T-Mobile.

This is interesting from a technical and freedom(s) standpoint. However, I’m not entirely sure how/if this will impact the average mobile phone user.

Consumers are much more likely to acquire a phone from their service provider, with an appropriate discount, versus buying this device. For most of consumers, unlocking their phone is as far as they go, and that cost costs $20. So, a subsidized device plus unlocking is $179 + $20 = $199, which is a lot lower than $399 for this device, especially in the current economic climate.

As a result, how large is the market for applications that would run on the Android Dev Phone 1, but not on the consumer-level device? If the market is small, was this a simple story for Google to sell T-Mobile on (i.e. we win developer love and it’ll cost us very little)?

What do you think?