T-Mobile announced its new REVVLRY and REVVLRY+ (REVVLRY Plus) earlier this month, and the day has come for T-Mobile users to pick up the carrier-branded smartphones — with a new video app, T-Mobile Play, and those beloved ads.
The new video app and ads (a skippable ad before each video and banner ads) were discovered by tech site Android Police. The new video app is T-Mobile's own exclusive video app called T-Mobile Play, and it provides multimedia content for kids and adults. There's a Kids & Family section for the family and children, followed by categories like Breaking News, Comedy, Lifestyle, and Sports. Gamespot, Billboard, Bloomberg, and Fox Sports come along for the ride, too, for a total of 60+ channels.
The ads are both pre-video and preview ads. The pre-video ad is a skippable ad that plays before the start of each video. When previewing videos, banner ads are spread throughout.
The ads, as many are nowadays, are personalized, meaning that you'll see ads pertaining to content you've watched over time. Recommendations for ads will improve with the more content you watch (though ad recommendations are still hated ads, are they not? How can any ad recommendations, let alone ads in general, be a good thing?).
You can access T-Mobile Play by either launching it from its app icon (standard) or by swiping right on the home screen. T-Mobile keeps Google Discover on its REVVLRY and REVVLRY+, but now you access T-Mobile Play in the same direction as Google Discover. There are tabs for Google Discover and T-Mobile Play for those who prefer tabs than finding the app icons.
T-Mobile's decision to place a new T-Mobile Play video app on its exclusive REVVL smartphones is bound to upset customers who don't want any more unnecessary bloatware on their phones, but remember, these are T-Mobile's phones. They are named by T-Mobile, designed by T-Mobile, and launched exclusively at T-Mobile.
As such, they are bound to T-Mobile and what T-Mobile wants to do with them, in the same way that, say, Google has the prerogative to place some Google services on its phones that users don't want — or in the same way that Samsung places apps on its smartphones that some diehard vanilla Android fans say they don't want.
It's easy to attack an OEM or even a carrier for putting bloatware on their phones, but one must remember that the owner of the device has a right over the device to do with it whatever the owner pleases, even if consumers hate the idea.
Next, the ads are a bad idea. Sure, T-Mobile is offering the T-Mobile Play video app for free, and "nothing is for free," but still, the company looks to make money any way it can, and Google's ad strategy may be in mind here. Those ads will become personalized as you use the app, which seems a bit invasive to some individuals.
T-Mobile's whole strategy behind the REVVL series and these new REVVLRY phones is to provide an experience for customers the carrier thinks gives customers what they want. Magenta sells a lot of phones with other brands attached, but it wants to tailor its own experience some to create some brand pride in customers. And, if there's one thing that's sure business, it's smartphones.
The T-Mobile Play app is for free and available as a download at the Google Play Store. Magenta says more devices are coming in the future that will have the T-Mobile Play app pre-installed.
As for the new smartphones, the REVVLRY features a 5.7-inch, HD display with a 1520 x 720p screen resolution, 19:9 aspect ratio, 1.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 632 SoC, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 8MP front-facing and 13MP rear-facing cameras, face unlock, fingerprint sensor, water repellency, and a 3,000mAh battery with Android 9.0 Pie pre-installed.
The REVVLRY+ has a slightly larger screen (6.24 inches vs. the 5.7 inches of the REVVLRY), slightly higher screen resolution (2270 x 1080p vs. 1520 x 720p for the REVVLRY), slightly higher SoC (Snapdragon 636 vs. Snapdragon 632), an additional GB of RAM (4GB for the REVVLRY Plus versus 3GB for the REVVLRY), a dual rear camera combo as opposed to the single rear camera on the REVVLRY (16MP+5MP dual rear camera combo on REVVLRY+ vs. single 13MP rear camera on REVVLRY), and more water protection (IP54 water and dust resistance for REVVLRY+ as opposed to water repellency on the REVVLRY). Both the REVVLRY and REVVLRY+ house 3,000mAh batteries.
Oh, and there is the notch design difference, a teardrop/waterdrop on the REVVLRY+ and a basic bar notch on the REVVLRY. The REVVLRY and REVVLRY+ can be yours for $200 or $350 outright, or $0 down and $14 a month versus $0 down and 8.34 a month.