T-Mobile USA announces next Android phone, the 'myTouch 3G'

New device has touch-screen keyboard, unlike the G1

T-Mobile USA today announced its second Android smartphone, the myTouch 3G, a touch-screen device that the carrier's customers can begin pre-ordering on July 8 for $200 with a two-year service plan.

The myTouch 3G, designed by HTC, is a derivative of HTC's Magic, now on sale in the UK from Vodafone.

The carrier said phones that are pre-ordered by T-Mobile customers will ship in late July; National retail availability for others is planned for early August.

The phone features a 3.2-in. touch-screen display and virtual keyboard, which can be used in portrait or landscape mode, depending on the applications, T-Mobile said. It includes a 3.2-megapixel camera and video capabilities for use with MMS.

The myTouch 3G smartphone
The myTouch 3G smartphone from T-Mobile USA has a 3.2-in. touch-screen display and a virtual keyboard.

By comparison, the first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1, has a swivel-out physical QWERTY keyboard.

MyTouch is aptly named, since much of the focus of its design is on personalization. Users can customize menus, wallpapers and icons and will have thousands of Android Market applications to choose from along with a choice of three colors -- black, white and merlot.

"There's no cookie-cutter approach to myTouch," said Denny Marie Post, chief marketing officer at T-Mobile USA, in a statement.

One of the personalization applications on myTouch is Sherpa, from Geodelic Systems, which offers a learning engine that customizes itself to a user's preferences. The app learns a person's likes and dislikes, based on prior choices, in shopping, restaurants and entertainment. That information is combined with location information to help offer custom recommendations in upcoming choices, T-Mobile said.

T-Mobile said Sherpa is unlike any experience currently on the market.

Despite its potential appeal for personalization, the T-Mobile 3G will only function at faster 3G speeds where the carrier has upgraded to UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System), according to a footnote that accompanied its myTouch announcement. The carrier has said it reached 130 cities with UMTS by the end of 2008, reaching 100 million people, and will double the number of people it reaches by the end of this year.

T-Mobile said that its 3G network supports Web browsing at speeds of between 200Kbit/sec and 1 Mbit/sec. When a 3G link is not available, myTouch will run over the older, slower GPRS/EDGE network of T-Mobile. The carrier has an online tool for checking 3G coverage availability.

T-Mobile's $200 price for the myTouch 3G "may vary, depending upon customer upgrade eligibility requirements," but gave no additional details. The question of upgrade eligibility has haunted AT&T Inc. in recent days over questions about the price of upgrading to the new iPhone 3G S.

T-Mobile released photos of the new device, but did not immediately make public a spec sheet for the myTouch 3G. It said that added product features and details will be available July 8, when T-Mobile customers can begin making pre-orders.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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