T-Mobile's Second Android Phone Won't Come With Keyboard

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Just like T-Mobile USA's first Android phone, the new myTouch will feature Google applications and is made by HTC. But unlike the original G1 phone, it won't have a physical keyboard.

Officially called the T-Mobile myTouch 3G with Google, the phone is expected to be introduced on Monday and will become available to T-Mobile customers at the end of July for US$199 with a two-year contract.

The lack of a physical keyboard may be one of the biggest differences between the myTouch and the G1. When the G1 came out, its keyboard was seen as a differentiator to the popular iPhone, which has only an on-screen keyboard that some people find difficult to use.

While T-Mobile plans to continue selling Android phones with keyboards, the company thinks the myTouch will appeal to a different set of users from those the G1 attracts. "We're responding to feedback from people who say they think Android is great but they aren't messaging fanatics. They want a phone-first device," said Josh Lonn, director of product development for T-Mobile.

The myTouch has a 3.2" QVGA display, and the virtual keyboard can display in portrait or landscape mode. It has a 3.2-megapixel camera.

Like the G1, the phone will feature tight integration with Google applications. Users will sign in to Google and agree to the search giant's terms of service when they first turn on the phone, in a process similar to the one required by the original G1 phone.

The myTouch will feature Android 1.5 software, which has already been pushed out to existing G1 users.

T-Mobile plans to more heavily promote the personalization options of the software. "We learned that Android offers hidden powers that were not discovered by even the most heavy users [of the G1]," said Lonn.

The operator will soon begin training store workers to help people customize their phones. They will be able to show off a few different examples of "personas" for the myTouch. An example would be a phone that is very music-focused, featuring a user's favorite band as the backdrop on the phone's screen and placing a guitar tuner widget on the start page of the phone.

MyTouch phones will also exclusively feature an application called Sherpa that offers users information about nearby banks, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, hotels and other similar locations. Once a user accesses the application and chooses items to view, the application learns about the user's preferences.

On Monday, T-Mobile planned to launch a microsite with more details about the device. Starting on July 8, existing T-Mobile customers can order the phone for delivery on July 29. Some time in early August, sales will open to anyone.

The operator used the introduction of the myTouch to reveal some statistics about the G1. It took six months to sell 1 million of the devices, the first Android phone in the world. There are currently about 5,000 applications available in the Android store, and the average G1 user has downloaded more than 40 applications. About 80 percent of G1 users browse the Web on the phone daily.

By comparison, 1 million iPhone 3G phones sold in the first weekend it appeared in stores. Earlier this year, Apple said it had 25,000 apps in its AppStore and the apps had been downloaded 800 million times. The very first iPhone came out mid-2007.

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