T-Mobile's latest Android device isn't the biggest surprise, considering all the various leaks over the past couple of months, but nonetheless, we're glad that we can finally talk about the T-Mobile MyTouch 3G Slide with official authority.
Slated for a June release (specific availability date and pricing were not announced at this time), the Slide is the latest model to join the carrier's MyTouch 3G line. Like the other MyTouch models, the Slide is made by HTC and as its name would suggest, it is a slider phone with a full QWERTY keyboard and is running Android 2.1. However, rather than just be satisfied with bringing its customers the latest Android features, the carrier has added its own custom user interface to not only differentiate itself from the competition but, more importantly, make the phones more connected and user-friendly.
T-Mobile didn't give its UI a fancy name and it's actually built on top of HTC Sense (so you'll see some elements of Sense on the phone) but there are three key features to it: the Faves Gallery, myModes, and the Genius Button. The Faves Gallery is an extension of myFaves, and by touching a dedicated soft button, you can instantly see and communicate with up to 20 of your favorite contacts. In addition, you'll receive a special alert in your notifications tray and a custom green light will illuminate any time one of your Faves contacts you and updates his or her status. The whole idea is to make it easier to stay in touch with the people you care about the most.
Next, we have myModes. This feature lets you customize your home screen with various apps, widgets, and wallpapers based on different themes, such as work, home, travel, and so forth. For example, if you're in Work mode, you can have your e-mail, calendar, and productivity apps front and center, but if you switch to Home mode, you can hide those and have your music player, photo gallery, and Web browser occupy the home screen. If you're familiar with HTC Sense, myModes is very similar to the Scenes feature on Sense.
Finally, there's the Genius Button, and this is probably our favorite feature of the bunch. By pressing the dedicated Genius Button on the phone and thanks to Nuance Communication's Dragon Dictation software, you can use voice commands to make calls, compose and send messages, and search the Web and maps. Not only that, the phone will even read back text messages aloud and let you dictate responses in a more natural talking pattern, unlike some where you have to really enunciate and pause after each word.
The rest of the smartphone's stats are pretty much on par with other Android devices on the market. The Slide 3G has a 3.4-inch HVGA capacitive touch screen, a 5-megapixel camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a full HTML WebKit browser with pinch-to-zoom. T-Mobile will also ship the handset with an 8GB microSD card as well as doubleTwist software for syncing your media files.
We got some brief hands-on time with the myTouch 3G slide when T-Mobile came to visit us last week, and we were pretty impressed with what the company had done with the interface. It takes HTC Sense and gives it a more consumer-friendly look and feel, so we can certainly see it attracting new customers. Of course, we'll give it a full rundown when we get the smartphone in for review, but you can catch get a glimpse of the handset in our hands-on photo gallery below.