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T-Mobile launches second Android phone

Jul 9, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive
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T-Mobile is now accepting pre-orders for its second Android-based phone from HTC, which will ship for its U.S. 3G network customers on Aug. 5. The keyboard-free MyTouch 3G will provide customization options both in the UI and via customizable skins and accessories, says the company.

T-Mobile announced the MyTouch 3G several weeks ago, offering limited information. With yesterday's pre-order launch, a few more details emerged, but no spec list. The only major new hardware detail we could see was the announcement of a 4GB micro-SD card. The phone design appears to be essentially the same as the HTC Magic introduced recently in Europe by Vodafone, but it adds customization features and accessories.


MyTouch 3G

Users can personalize the device with new widgets, icons, and wallpapers, says T-Mobile. The company also announced it would introduce a new "AppPack" collection of apps that will include the previously announced Sherpa localization app, which is said to learn from previous user choices to customize search results. It will also include Imeem mobile and Movies by Flixster, as well as T-Mobile applications including myAccount, myFaves, HotSpot Locator, and Visual Voicemail, says the company.

The company reiterated that it will offer a variety of of accessories and pre-designed shell patterns for the phone, and announced that customers will be able to design "a unique shell" using a dedicated website. Customizations are said to include uploading a personal photo, graphic design, or selecting text, shapes, icons, or logos.

We could be Heroes

According to a quickie hands-on review of the MyTouch 3G from Laptop's Mark Spoonauer, the phone is "sleeker, cooler," and more customizable than the original HTC G1 Android phone introduced by T-Mobile last October. Spoonbauer, who appears to have tested the phone at the launch in New York City, was "impressed" with the phone's design and customization features, as well as its Microsoft Exchange support. He could not, of course, test, the longer battery life promised by T-Mobile, but he welcomed the addition along with the doubled RAM allotment. (For more technology details, see our earlier coverage here, as well as our coverage of the HTC Magic here.)

Spoonbauer noted, however, that the $200 MyTouch 3G is $50 more expensive than the G1, and $100 pricier than the iPhone 3G S. He also knocked it for its lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack, and its garish skins, which T-Mobile is selling for $14 a pop. Noting that it lacked the "sweet user interface" of the HTC Hero, he concluded that the phone was not likely to generate the excitement of the Palm Pre or iPhone 3G S.

The day after the original MyTouch 3G announcement several weeks ago, the phone's manufacturer, HTC, announced its own self-branded new Android phone, the HTC Hero, which is headed for Europe. The Hero offers some design twists on the Magic/MyTouch design, and it similarly jettisons the G1's keyboard in favor of Android 1.5's virtual keyboard. Like the MyTouch 3G, the Hero focuses on customization, but it appears to go farther, with an HTC-authored UI stack it calls HTC Sense that sits atop Android.

In a blog post from Clint Boulton, who covered the launch event for eWEEK, T-Mobile SVP Cole Brodman confirmed that there were no plans to bring the HTC Hero to the U.S. Boulton concludes, "This was a disappointing launch compared to the G1." Partially, he said, this was due to the lack of Google executives on hand. Presumably, this was because Google wanted to step back and let T-Mobile brand its phone on its own.

Yet, T-Mobile could not have been happy that Google chose the same day to drop its bombshell about a new Google Chrome OS for netbooks. That distraction, combined with the growing interest in the intriguing HTC Hero, as well as the leftover buzz from the Palm Pre and the iPhone 3G S, left the MyTouch 3G as something of a footnote. On the other hand, it appears to be an improvement over the G1, with no major flaws except for the price.

Availability

T-Mobile customers can now pre-order MyTouch 3G, in limited quantities, here. The phone should be available in retail stores and online beginning Aug. 5 for $200, with a two-year agreement. Existing customers who order the device during the pre-sale period from Jul. 8-28 can qualify for MyTouch 3G delivery before the national retail launch, says T-Mobile.

The Laptop first-look review may be found here, and Clint Boulton's eWEEK blog on the launch may be found here. A new eWEEK slide-show on the phone, showing some of the new skins, among other details, 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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