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Hot summer releases

Generally speaking, the summer tends to be pretty quiet as far new smartphone releases, before picking up again for the fall and holiday season. However, that doesn't mean the handset manufacturers and carriers are on vacation. In fact, there are more than half a dozen new models expected in the next couple of months--some we've been waiting for since January (see below) and others are more recent. Regardless, here is a round up of all the smartphones slated for a summer release. Which one are you most excited about?

Motorola Droid Bionic (Verizon Wireless)
The Motorola Droid Bionic captured our hearts at CES 2011, and then crushed it with delay after delay. Originally scheduled for release in Q2, Motorola decided to push back the launch date in order to make improvements to the Android smartphone. The company did not specify what enhancements it was making, but at this point, it better project holograms or something because while its dual-core processor, qHD display, and 4G support might have been impressive in January, it's not newsworthy now. The good news is that the Droid Bionic has received FCC approval, so its launch could be close.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Josh Miller/CNET
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LG Thrill 4G (AT&T)

The LG Thrill 4G made its debut at CTIA 2011 and is the U.S. version of the LG Optimus 3D and features a glasses-free 3D display, as well as two 5-megapixel cameras on back so you can take 3D photos and video. Recently, AT&T revealed it would also preload the Android smartphone with 3D content, including YouTube 3D and 3D versions of Let's Golf 2, Asphalt 6, and N.O.V.A.

Even if 3D isn't your thing, the Thrill 4G has got a pretty solid feature set with its dual-core processor, dual-channel and dual-memory architecture, 4.3-inch WVGA touch screen, and HDMI port. Get more of our hands-on impressions here.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Nicole Lee/CNET
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HTC Status (AT&T)

There are numerous ways to access Facebook from smartphones these days, but the HTC Status is the first to incorporate a dedicated button for the social network. First introduced at Mobile World Congress 2011 as the HTC ChaCha, the Status has a dedicated Facebook share button that lets you instantly post status updates, photos, and videos, check in to places, show what music you're listening to, and more.

"Coming soon" to AT&T, the Status also runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread with the latest version of HTC Sense and includes a rear-facing 5-megapixel camera and a front-facing VGA camera, an 800MHz processor, and a 2.6-inch, 480x320-pixel touch screen. Though pricing has not been announced, an affordable price tag will be a key factor to the phone's adoption.

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Motorola Photon 4G (Sprint)

In early June, Motorola and Sprint announced a renewed partnership to bring more innovative devices to market together, starting with the Motorola Photon 4G and the Motorola Triumph (next slide). The Photon 4G is Sprint's first smartphone to feature Nvidia's dual-core processor and also adds another world phone to the carrier's lineup.

The Gingerbread-based Android phone offers a 4.3-inch qHD touch screen, 4G support, and a built-in kickstand, among other things. Like the Motorola Atrix 4G also supports the Webtop application and will be compatible with a number of accessories, including an HD multimedia dock, a car mount, and wireless keyboard and mouse.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Bonnie Cha/CNET
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Motorola Triumph (Virgin Mobile)

Perhaps more exciting than the Motorola Photon 4G, however, is the Motorola Triumph for Virgin Mobile. The Triumph is the prepaid carrier's first Motorola handset and as the flagship device, the Android 2.2 smartphone brings more-advanced features, such as a 4-inch WVGA touch screen, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, a front-facing VGA camera, and HMDI out.

Though it might not seem like the latest or greatest, especially compared to other models today, Virgin's current selection of smartphones fall into the entry- to midlevel range so the Triumph is a great addition.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Bonnie Cha/CNET
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T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide

Not satisfied to be just the next-gen version of the MyTouch 3G Slide, HTC and T-Mobile are claiming that the upcoming MyTouch 4G Slide has the most advanced camera of any smartphone. What makes the 8-megapixel camera so advanced? Well, there's the wide aperture lens, backside-illuminated sensor (BSI), and built-in HDR and panoramic shooting modes. It also has zero shutter lag and a dedicated camera button that will activate the camera even if the phone is locked.

Whether it truly lives up to its claim remains to be seen when the MyTouch 4G Slide is released later this month. In the meantime, you can read more of our first impressions here.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Bonnie Cha/CNET
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HP Pre 3

We have nothing but love for WebOS, but to say that the hardware selection has been lacking would be an understatement. The HP Veer 4G was cute but way too small. However, the Pre 3 looks pretty promising with a larger 3.6-inch display and more comfortable QWERTY keyboard. It also has a faster 1.4GHz processor and better 5-megapixel camera.

Unfortunately, we haven't heard much about availability since the smartphone was first introduced in early February. As far as we know, the Pre 3 is still due out this summer and will be offered in an HSPA+ version and a EV-DO Rev. A world phone version.

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