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Slider version of MyTouch 3G adds voice command button

May 4, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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T-Mobile announced a new version of its HTC-manufactured MyTouch 3G smartphone featuring a QWERTY keyboard, Android 2.1, and an updated T-Mobile UI layer with a voice-command “Genius Button.” The mid-range MyTouch 3G Slide offers a 3.4-inch touchscreen, WiFi, Bluetooth, a five-megapixel camera, and 8GB of preinstalled memory, says the company.

The MyTouch 3G Slide is the fourth version of the original HTC Magic-based MyTouch 3G design, which was only the second Android phone to ship stateside. (It seems like ancient history in Android time, but the MyTouch 3G shipped a mere nine months ago.)

The latest MyTouch was a "3.5mm" version which, like the earlier MyTouch 3G Fender Limited Edition added a 3.5mm jack and an updated music player. It also introduced Swype text-input software, which comes with the Slide version as well.


MyTouch 3G Slide

The Slide, however, is the first major redesign of the series, and the first to add a physical QWERTY keyboard. Despite the continuing popularity of the slider-enabled Motorola Droid, Android-powered slider smartphones have been few and far between, as vendors and carriers weigh issues such as weight, size, and cost. The Slide is not much larger than the original, measuring 4.55 x 2.37 x 0.6 inches (compared to 4.5 x 2.2 x 0.5 inches), but the weight has ballooned from 4.1 ounces to 5.8 ounces. 

Once again designed by HTC exclusively for T-Mobile, the MyTouch 3G Slide is equipped with a 3.4-inch touchscreen display. This represents a bump up from the earlier 3.2-inch display, but smaller than the typical 3.7 to 4-inch displays now found on high-end Android smartphones.

Resolution has not improved from the previous version's HVGA (480 x 320 pixels), and HTC has not added the OLED display technology available on its high-end models like the Incredible. In addition to the slide-out keyboard, an optical joy stick is also provided, but there is no mention of multitouch capability.

Running Android 2.1 on an undisclosed processor, the MyTouch 3G Slide ships with a pre-installed 8GB microSD memory card. The phone offers WiFi (802.11 b/g) and stereo Bluetooth/A2DP, as well as GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz) with dual-band 3G UMTS/HSPA (Bands I and IV) service, says the company.

The earlier 3.2-megapixel camera has been replaced with a five-megapixel model with autofocus and flash. T-Mobile has yet to release a full spec list, but presumably the phone also supplies a 3.5mm audio jack, USB port, accelerometers, and other basics. Available colors are said to be black, white, and red.

Voice commands, new themes, and prioritized notifications

T-Mobile has a lot more to say about software, however, as the Slide will be its first Android 2.1 phone. The company has layered on more of its own UI components, which appear to greatly improve on the original add-ons.

Of course, as with HTC's Sense and Motorola's MotoBlur, the new software also adds to Android fragmentation. Among other problems, phones with numerous additional software components tend to take longer to update to new versions of Android.

The following are the key additions to the MyTouch 3G Slide software, says T-Mobile:

  • Enhanced multimedia — Like the 3.5mm and Fender versions, the Slide offers an updated music player. The Slide's player displays cover album art and lets users toggle between playlists, while supporting MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, OGG, and RM formats. Users can also instantly upload and share pictures and videos via email, MMS, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr or Picasa, says T-Mobile. Synch is said to be available for music, photos, or video, using DoubleTwist technology.
  • Faves Gallery — Presenting up to 20 contacts and associated communications formats, including calls, texts, email, instant messaging, and social networking updates, the Faves Gallery keeps users notified any time friends or family members make a peep (or a tweet). An LED on the phone can also notify users to Fave activity, says the company. In addition, users can respond to notifications directly from the gallery app without launching email or other applications.
  • MyModes — With MyModes, users can create up to 10 customized modes with personalized themes, home-screen apps, wallpaper, and widgets, says T-Mobile. MyModes can be configured to switch modes at a designated time, by location, or manually. The feature is primarily aimed at users who want to quickly switch their interface from a work- to a home-phone environment.
  • Genius Button — This voice-recognition button on the Slide is based on Dragon Dictation from Nuance Communications, and is enabled by Android 2.1's new voice capabilities. The Genius Button lets voice commands control the phone, including making calls, composing and sending texts and emails, and searching the Web. The feature also reads text messages aloud, and lets users dictate responses, says T-Mobile.

Other software is said to include a five-pane home-screen, with the option to increase to seven panes, as well as a full HTML web browser. Turn-by-turn, spoken directions are available with Google Maps, and the phone provides Android Market integration.


Slide with keyboard extended

Stated Andrew Sherrard, VP of product development, T-Mobile USA, "Many smartphones are increasingly powerful in their features and specifications without continuing to improve the main reason that so many people have mobile phones — the ability to communicate with each other."

Availability

The MyTouch 3G Slide should be available in June, says T-Mobile, which did not release pricing details. More information and notification alert sign-up may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

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