Betting that, for a growing number of smartphone users, it's all about the pictures, T-Mobile and HTC have come out with a slider phone that packs an eight-megapixel camera with no shutter lag. The MyTouch 4G Slide is just one of a handful of phones on the market promising 4G data speeds -- in this case via T-Mobile's expanding HSPA+ network -- with a superfast dual-core processor.
However, T-Mobile is playing up the photographic capabilities rather than the MyTouch 4G Slider's surfing prowess, calling it the most advanced camera on any smartphone and as good as any digital point-and-shoot device. That means it not only can take good pictures, but share them quickly.
Leave Your Camera at Home
In addition to the quick shutter, the camera has a backside illuminated sensor with dual LED flash.
"Knowing that the best camera is the one you've got with you, we set out to create a new best-in-class smartphone that allows our customers to leave their cameras at home," said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president of marketing for T-Mobile USA. "Our newest MyTouch device takes capturing and sharing memories to a new level by combining high-quality smartphone hardware with features that customers would expect from a top-of-the-line digital camera."
Powered by Google's Android 2.3 and with HTC Sense 3.0, this MyTouch has a 3.7-inch WVGA super LCD touchscreen display with Swype, and a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard. It has a 1.2-gigahertz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.
The MyTouch 4G Slide will be available in black or khaki at T-Mobile stores and select retailers in July for $199 with a two-year contract.
Are cameras really a major differentiator for smartphone buyers?
"Can't hurt," said consumer-devices analyst Avi Greengart of Current Analysis. "People really do use their cameraphone as their only camera, particularly in informal situations. T-Mobile already has 4G phones in its lineup, so a terrific camera can be a differentiator."
He said the best news about the camera isn't the high megapixel count or the advanced sensor. "It's that there is essentially no shutter lag, which means you can capture images with this cameraphone that others might miss," he said.
T-Mobile credits "innovative software features [that allow] for an instantaneous shot at that precise moment." The camera is also equipped with a trademarked SweepShot for capturing panoramic and ClearShot HDR: or capturing objects in bright settings that won't be affected by high-contrast lighting. BurstShot mode captures multiple photos in a quick burst.
The video camera offers HD 1080p with audio recording and the ability to edit videos directly from the device, and images can instantly be shared to social media and photo-sharing sites.
The new HSPA+ device comes as T-Mobile is expanding its network to seven additional markets: Barnstable, Mass.; Chico, Calif.; Lancaster, Penn.; Ogden, Utah; Redding, Calif.; Vineland, N.J.; and Winchester, Va.