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T-Mobile Android phone ships, garners endorsement

Aug 6, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

T-Mobile started shipping its second Android phone, the style-minded, HTC-manufactured MyTouch3G, writes eWEEK. Meanwhile, Laptop Magazine gave the smartphone and its Android 1.5 software a thorough review, and, while criticizing the camera and a few other features, dubs the MyTouch 3G “our current Android phone of choice.”

Announced in June, and made available for pre-orders in July, this slightly modified version of the HTC Magic phone follows up on T-Mobile's HTC G1. T-Mobile has sold more than 1 million of that original Android smartphone since it shipped last fall, says a story by Michelle Maisto in eWEEK.


The MyTouch 3G (pictured at right) is the first Android phone to ship out of the box with the new and much improved Android 1.5 "cupcake" release of the Linux/Java mobile platform. T-Mobile has also added its own additional apps and UI elements on top of Android, although the additions are not nearly as extensive as those offered in the Sense UI made available on HTC's upcoming Hero phone.

Shells and skydivers

Even more accessories, as well as decorative "shells" are available to customize the exterior of the MyTouch 3G. In fact, to dramatize the phone's visual customization features, the carrier hired 100 skydivers, "each dressed as unique personalities to reflect the individuality of the myTouch experience," according to T-Mobile. The skydrivers parachuted over San Francisco at noon yesterday for the official launch event.

T-Mobile still hasn't released a full spec list, according to eWEEK, and indeed the MyTouch 3G site is still awash in Flash presentations that offer few details. Previously announced features, such as the 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen, 4.5 x 2.2 x 0.5-inch dimensions, 4GB microSD card slot, and 3.2-megapixel camera, suggest that the phone is almost a doppelganger of the HTC Magic.

Review: MyTouch 3G is "chic"

The review in Laptop Magazine calls the MyTouch 3G "our current Android phone of choice." However, it appears that the only other Android phone the publication has reviewed is the G1, which received a similar 3 1/2-star rating. (The iPhone 3G S just won a 4 1/2 star rating.) It does not appear that Laptop has reviewed the HTC Magic (which Vodafone is selling in Europe) or the new Samsung i7500, which is available on Telefonica's O2 network in Germany. HTC's Hero will be out soon, followed by several other Android phones from Motorola and others.

Still, a modest improvement over the previous model is always welcome news. The longer battery life alone should be enough bring more customers to Android. Here's a summary of the review:

  • Design — The MyTouch 3G is "much more elegant and pocket-friendly" than the G1, says the Laptop review. In addition to the sleeker dimensions, the review notes that at 4.1 ounces, the phone is 1.5 ounces lighter than the G1. All told, the reviewers praised the new keyboard-free physical design and accessories.
  • UI — The MyTouch 3G adds to Android's UI with a few modest improvements such as "three customizable home screens that you can switch between with a swipe of your finger," says the review. The touchscreen interface is given a thumbs up, and the review had nice things to say about search features, email and messaging, web browsing, and the Android Market experience. Android's onscreen QWERTY keyboard, however, is not as good as the iPhone's, said the review, and is really only workable in landscape mode.
  • Performance — Despite having twice the amount of memory (512MB) as the T-Mobile G1, which shares the same 528MHz Qualcomm ARM11-based processor, the MyTouch 3G was saidto be only negligibly faster in tests. In fact, the reviewers found the phone to be "sluggish at times, specifically while digging through some menus and while launching the main menu." Video performance, however, was said to be quite good.

  • TeleNav for Android

  • GPS and camera — The review lauded the phone's GPS features and associated location- and navigation apps. Especially recommended was the pre-installed TeleNav for Android (pictured above). The 3.2-megapixel camera, however, was faulted for its lack of a flash, and images that "weren't very sharp." In addition, the autofocus feature, which can't be turned off, takes one or two seconds to adjust, at which point the moment may have passed, says the review. Finally, there is no external camera button, so to take a picture, one has to launch an app, says the review. Video capture, however, is dubbed "YouTube worthy."
  • Call quality and battery life — Indoor call quality and reception "wasn't the best," said Laptop, but both improved greatly outdoors. The battery is much improved over the G1, however. "We were able to go through two days surfing the Web, making phone calls, chatting, and playing games during our commute before needing to recharge the phone," write the reviewers.

In the end, Laptop concludes that the MyTouch 3G is "a svelte and well-rounded smart phone." The review adds, "if you're choosing between the myTouch 3G and the G1, we think you'll enjoy the sleeker design, personalization options, and longer battery life offered by the myTouch 3G."

Availability

The MyTouch 3G is available at T-Mobile retail stores, and eventually will be sold at Radio Shack, for $200 with a two-year service contract. More information may be found here.

The eWEEK story on the MyTouch 3G launch may be found here. The Laptop Magazine review of the MyTouch 3G may be found here.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com 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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