T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide: A Mutant Android With a Sidekick Keyboard

The myTouch 3G Slide could go either way: A family-friendly Android phone with an awesome Sidekick-y keyboard, or, much like its name, a godawful conglomeration of disjointed parts.

The gist of the myTouch 3G Slide is that it's an Android 2.1 phone running totally T-Mobile software on top, way above and beyond the original myTouch, nearly to the extent of Sony Ericsson or HTC, with custom interfaces and software—it even has different "themes" depending on what you're doing, much like HTC's Sense interface. And it's got what T-Mobile calls an Sidekick-inspired keyboard (odd, since Sharp built the Hiptop/Sidekick, and the Slide's made by HTC). It's the second of clearly many myTouches coming down the road.

The two biggest features of the T-Mobile designed software are the Faves gallery—which is a dedicated application for your 20 favorite contacts, mashing together all of the various ways you can get a hold of them, and giving them priority status when they're trying to get a hold of you with a special LED light and status in the notifications shade—and the Genius button. Yes, the Genius button. (T-Mobile apparently does have the trademark on it.) It's voice command and speech-to-text, that's more extensive than what Google offers by default, and it's powered by Nuance, the guys behind Dragon Dictation. It seemed to work pretty damn well in the quick demo I had.

My major concern is two-fold: The standard one over delayed Android updates for any phone running custom software—one that T-Mobile actually acknowledges and accepts, since with this product they don't necessarily want to be on the cutting edge of Android updates (they want it to be a safe, easy Android phone). The second is that the software might overlap and cut across Android in some confusing ways (the early Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 is a poster child for this), even as T-Mobile takes steps like building in Swype text input and including DoubleTwist for music syncing to make it more palatable to a more mainstream user. It's hard to judge overall how effective the interface is without using it extensively, but since the Slide's not coming out til June, they've got plenty of time to integrate the myTouch software more seamlessly with Android. So we'll see. But I dig the hardware quite a bit—especially the keyboard—even without an eye-bleedingly high res screen.

T-Mobile won't spill on pricing now, but I'd be kind of surprised if it was more than $130, given the target audience and specs.

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Enhanced Multimedia Capabilities
• Instantly upload and share pictures and videos taken with 5.0-megapixel camera via e-mail, MMS, YouTube, Facebook, Flickr or Picasa
• Robust music player that displays cover album art and lets you toggle between playlists. Music player supports MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, OGG and RM
• Ability to sync your library – including music, photos or video – onto the device with DoubleTwist.
• Pre-installed 8 GB microSD card
• Stereo Bluetooth/A2DP
Powerful Web Experience
• Support for T-Mobile's 3G network and Wi-Fi
• Full HTML Web browser and digital zoom functionality
• Turn-by-turn (spoken) directions with Google Maps
• Browse and download from thousands of innovative applications on Android Market

Sleek Design and Touch Interface
• Large 3.4" HVGA touch-screen display
• 5-pane customizable home screen
• Optical joy stick for easy navigation
• The latest Android software – Android 2.1
• Three color options – black, white or red finish
• Dimensions: 4.55" x 2.37" x 0.6"; Weight: 5.8 ounces

Additional Features
• Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g)
• GSM/GPRS/EDGE (850/900/1800/1900 MHz)
• Dual-band 3G UMTS/HSPA (Bands I & IV)

New T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide Improves Communication through T-Mobile Exclusive Software

The latest Android-powered smartphone marries beautiful form with superior function on a faster 3G network.

BELLEVUE, Wash. - May 4, 2010 - T-Mobile USA, Inc. today announced a new addition to its exclusive line of Android™-powered T-Mobile myTouch® 3G smartphones - the T-Mobile® myTouch 3G Slide™. Anticipated to be available in June, the new myTouch 3G Slide combines a roomy slide-out QWERTY keyboard with an incredibly crisp, high-performance touch screen powered by the latest Android software. The T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide is purpose-built for communication, with unique new features that help customers connect more easily, more quickly and more often to
their closest family and friends.

"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," said Andrew Sherrard, vice president of product development, T-Mobile USA. "The new myTouch 3G Slide is a smart and sleek phone that fits into your pocket, your budget and your family life with exclusive T-Mobile features that put communication with your closest family and friends front and center."

New features only available on the T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide include the following:
Faves Gallery™: Life is hectic, so it's easy to miss opportunities to connect with loved ones. Faves Gallery presents up to 20 of your favorite people and the different ways to communicate with them - calls, texts, e-mail, instant messaging, social networking updates - in a dedicated application accessible through a soft button and an easy-to-use widget complete with photos, contact information and one-touch ability to respond. All of your Faves® get special status on your myTouch 3G Slide™; anytime they communicate with you or update their social network you get a notification in the
notification pane. Even if you're not using your phone, a custom green light lets you know you've got a communication waiting from one of your Faves. And you can respond directly from the Faves Gallery, without launching e-mail or other applications, so you connect more quickly and more often with the important people in your life.

myModes: myModes helps you draw the line between work and home by creating different themes with home screen apps, widgets and wallpapers to empower people in the different roles they play each day. You can set myModes to switch at a designated time, by location, or manually with the option to create and store up to 10 customized modes. myModes removes clutter and makes you more efficient both at work and at home. Want to forget about work on the weekend? No need to hide your work phone or switch to another device; just put away your work tools, like e-mail and your calendar by switching modes, and bring forward all the things you love to do on Saturday.

Genius Button™: With the Genius Button, you press one button, talk, and it delivers. The Genius Button, powered by Dragon Dictation from Nuance Communications (Nasdaq: NUAN), is an easy-to-access button on the front of the new T-Mobile myTouch 3G Slide allowing the use of voice commands to control the phone and it's features including making calls, composing and sending texts and e-mails, searching the Web or your surroundings. It will even read text messages aloud, and lets you dictate responses naturally as if you were speaking directly to a person.

Powered by the Android 2.1 software, the myTouch 3G Slide offers a rich mobile Web experience and access to thousands of applications on Android Market from games to location-based social networks to on-the-go shopping and more. Similar to the original, the new myTouch 3G Slide was designed to facilitate personalization inside and out. A five-pane home screen, with the option to increase to seven panes, offers plenty of real estate for your favorite widgets, applications and themes. Designed by HTC exclusively for T-Mobile, the myTouch 3G Slide features a 3.4-inch HVGA touch-screen display with virtual keyboard as well as a roomy, slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Less than 15mm thick, the elegant design slides easily into your pocket proving that Android brains don't have to come in a sci-fi box. The myTouch 3G Slide also features a 5-megapixel camera, a music player with a pre-installed 8GB microSD memory card, and enhanced video capabilities to make it easy for users to record and share pictures and videos, whether via e-mail, MMS or one-click upload to sites such as YouTube™ and Picasa™.

The device's powerful mobile data experience is supported by fast data speeds via Wi-Fi and T-Mobile's nationwide 3G network, which is getting even faster this year as T-Mobile upgrades its network with the latest wireless technology.
The myTouch 3G Slide is expected to be available in June, exclusively from T-Mobile USA in three colors - black, white or red. Customers can visit http://mytouch.t-mobile.com for more information.