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First Android phone to retail for $199

Cheaper than the iPhone?

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The Googlephone will cost $199 when it lands on T-Mobile in the US next week.

Citing people familiar with the matter, the Wall Street Journal reports that customers will be required to sign up a service contract of unknown duration with T-Mobile in order to bag themselves one of the Android-based talkers.

This suggests that the phone will initially appear only in the US on pay-monthly tariffs and not – as some would hope – on a pay-as-you-go package.

It’s also been rumoured that the Android talker, which is manufactured by HTC, will be called the T-Mobile G1. Until now it had received several unofficial titles, including the HTC Dream and Googlephone.

Some of the G1’s design features have already trickled through, including a BlackBerry-esque trackball for on-screen navigation and slide out Qwerty keyboard.

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