Wednesday, July 08, 2009

T-Mobile myTouch 3G: Google Android Take 2

Make it work, make it mine, make it easy: Those are the three customer wishes T-Mobile aims to fulfill with its new flagship smartphone: the myTouch 3G .
The touchscreen smartphone, manufactured by HTC and based on the same Google Android operating system software as the T-Mobile G1, offers a slimmer profile than the G1 thanks to its lack of a slide-out keyboard.
Highlights of the new unit include its large library of Android applications and the multitude of ways in which it can be personalized.
"It's a very sleek device," said T-Mobile Chief Marketing Officer Denny Marie Post (above, left), who readily admitted that her 15-year-old son was instrumental in helping her set up her phone. "You feel very bold to experiment with it.... It becomes 100% you."
"This is our first, and our real big bet for 2009," said Cole Brodman, T-Mobile's chief technology and innovation officer (above, right) at the July 8 press event in New York. "The myTouch 3G is unique through and through."

Brodman said there were already 5,000 Android applications available for the myTouch 3G and the G1, including many location-aware utilities that take advantage of the GPS receivers built into the phones.

For example, Sherpa, from Geodelic Systems, can locate points of interest close to you as you move around. Clicking a restaurant button will generate icons for the closest eateries, complete with the addresses and the distances from where you are. Click on an icon and the phone searches for relevant information on the restaurant, such as menus, travel directions, cuisine and reviews.

Rahul Sonnad, founder and CEO of Geodelic, said Sherpa was first developed for PCs, but was ported to Android as the software platform gained traction.

Brodman described Sherpa as a "really unique recommendation and discovery engine. He noted that it remembers the user's preferences as it processes requests. "The more you use it, the smarter it becomes," he said.

Brodman said T-Mobile's sales force had been trained to help users set up and personalize their myTouch 3G phones. "Make it work, make it mine and make it easy," said Brodman, taking the role of a prospective customer.

Current T-Mobile customers can pre-order the myTouch 3G for $199 with a 2-year service plan. Those who order by July 28 will receive their units by Aug. 3. The unit will be available in T-Mobile stores Aug. 5. The myTouch 3G offers a 3.2-inch touchscreen, aWi-Fi adapter, a 3.2-megapixel digital camera, a digital music player with a preinstalled four-gigabyte microSD memory card and support for T-Mobile's fast 3G data network.

After few minutes of testing, the phone worked well. The touchscreen was responsive and the Web browser rendered pages fairly quickly. The on-screen keyboard, which can be set up to give tactile feedback when a key is touched, flips over to the side when the phone is held in landscape orientation.

Post said the myTouch 3G was poised to be a viable challenger to Apple's iPhone to date. Time will tell.

Text and photos Copyright 2009 Stadium Circle Features

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