Some more juicy fodder from the databases of the US Patent and Trademark Office: T-Mobile has just filed trademark applications on three brandings, G-Surf, G-Slate, and Reader’s Cafe, all on the same day. As is generally the case with T-Mobile filings, Magenta has applied for a pair of trademarks on each phrase, one covering goods and one covering services. In this case, both the G-Slate and G-Surf seek protection against “cellular phones and cellular-enabled tablet computers” as well as the standard voice/data/text services associated with these devices. Since this is a smartphone site, we don’t really do tablets around here, so we’ll leave most of the speculation to more well-informed colleagues; the G- bit does make us think of the G1 and G2, so it’s possible that these will also be self-branded Android devices. On a related note, we noticed that T-Mobile UK was supposed to get a 15-inch, Tegra-powered tablet named Vega sometime this year, but as far as we know it has yet to be released.
Perhaps a bit more germane to our scope of coverage is the Reader’s Cafe, which clearly sounds like a digital bookstore a la those from Amazon, Apple, and Barnes and Noble. As the application puts it, T-Mobile would like the trademark to cover “online retail store services featuring downloadable audio works, visual works, audiovisual works, computer software, and electronic publications featuring books, magazines, newspapers, periodicals, newsletters, journals and manuals on a variety of topics provided via global computer networks, wireless networks, and electronic communications networks.”
We’ve already seen carriers implement their own app stores and music download services, so it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine them going into the digital book and magazine biz as well. What will be interesting is how the company deals with competing application like Nook and Kindle if it chooses to preload the Reader’s Cafe on its Android devices. It appears that virtual bookstores really have become the next hot content segment, with large-screen smartphones and lightweight tablets (like the G-Slate and G-Surf?) seemingly among the top factors driving market growth.
Update: David over at TmoNews dropped a hint that the G-Surf may be a MiFi-like mobile hotspot for T-Mobile’s “4G” network.