On Thursday, Verizon Wireless premiered the HTC Imagio, the carrier's first Windows Mobile 6.5 device and the first smartphone to support its V Cast Mobile TV service.
Known in inner circles by its codename, the HTC Whitestone, the Imagio is being billed as a multimedia smartphone and also works with V Cast Video on Demand and V Cast Music. Verizon typically has not made these services available on its other smartphones, such as the HTC Touch Pro2, in order to focus on the business benefits of smartphones, so the Imagio is a nice change of pace.
To make watching video worthwhile, the HTC Imagio features a 3.6-inch WVGA touch screen and an antenna on the back that doubles as a kickstand so you can place the device on a flat surface for hands-free viewing. Unlike some of the streaming video services, V Cast Mobile TV provides live TV programming from a number of broadcast and cable channels, such as Bravo, CBS, Comedy Central, ESPN, MTV, NBC, and Nickelodeon. The service is provided by Flo TV, but be aware that Mobile TV costs $15 per month and it's not widely available (check out the coverage map here and select the V Cast Mobile TV option).
If you don't live in a supported area, the good news is that the HTC Imagio has plenty more to offer. Aside from the new features of Windows Mobile 6.5, the smartphone brings another world phone to Verizon's lineup and supports both domestic and international 3G bands. The smartphone is also outfitted with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS/A-GPS.
The device measures 4.6 inches tall by 2.4 inches wide by 0.5 inch thick and weighs 5.25 and is powered by a 528MHz Qualcomm MSM7600 processor and 1500 lithium ion battery. While not a Touch device by name, the Imagio does use HTC's TouchFlo 3D interface and has five quick-launch buttons below the display as well as the touch-sensitive zoom bar that debuted on the HTC Touch Diamond2 and the Touch Pro2. Other goodies include a 5-megapixel camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a microSD expansion slot.
Like a number of other Windows Mobile 6.5 devices, the HTC Imagio will be available online starting October 6 and in stores on October 20 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Not too shabby. Our review unit should be arriving soon, so stay tuned for a full review. In addition to the Imagio, Verizon Wireless also announced the Nokia 2705 Shade, the Motorola Barrage, the Samsung Razzle, and the Gateway LT2016u Netbook all on Thursday.