Visitors to Google’s (s goog) I/O conference earlier this year received a surprise gift: a new touchscreen Google phone made by HTC. The svelte gadget is the second major Google Android device on the market, and sometime in August, you’ll be able to buy one from T-Mobile USA. T-Mobile is going to sell it for $199 with a two-year contract. Sure, you can buy the new iPhone 3G S, but in case you don’t care much for either the iPhone or the network it runs on, I think the new Android phone might actually be worth the wait.
T-Mobile is calling this 3G handset (with built-in Wi-Fi), myTouch, not exactly the most original or mellifluous name, but from a device standpoint, it is a worthy smartphone. I’ve had the one given out by Google for a few weeks now, and I have found it to be a very worthy competitor to current smartphone champions. I’ve been using it in tandem with my BlackBerry Curve 2. The best part I like about this device: its sleek, lightweight design and how unobtrusively it slips into a top shirt pocket.
It has a great 3.2-inch HVGA touchscreen display; the touchscreen is probably the second best in the business in terms of responsiveness. It comes with a 4GB microSD card for you to store photos, videos and music, which can be upgraded to any size. The phone has a built-in 512MB of internal memory. It seamlessly integrates all Google services including Google Chat, Picasa, Search, Calendar and Gmail.
It took me literally 15 minutes to get going: I typed in my Google ID, and the phone did the rest. My calendars, contacts and Google Talk friends were downloaded to the device automatically. Of course, if you don’t have a Google account, things might not go as smoothly. Setting up IMAP email was pretty easy as well.
Sure, it has its short comings — the browser is good, but not great like the iPhone browser. It’s sometimes hard to switch modes on the virtual keyboard or bring up the dialpad when you need it most. It has one micro-USB port that can either be used for charging or plugging in accessories such as headphones.
The most disappointing feature of the device is the 3.2-megapixel camera — it is horrible. And like most other 3G smartphones, the device guzzles power faster than a Hummer speeding down the freeway. The phone lasted about seven hours at best when I checked email, used instant messaging, and surfed the web too often.