T-Mobile Touts Camera in MyTouch 4G Slide

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A fancy camera takes center stage on T-Mobile's MyTouch 4G Slide, a new Android smartphone that's launching in July for $200.

Although the phone has some other noteworthy specs, including a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and a physical keyboard, T-Mobile hopes to lure in subscribers with the camera. A product page speaks only of the camera, making no mention of other features.

What's the big deal? The MyTouch 4G Slide, built by HTC, has an 8-megapixel sensor with a wide-aperture f/2.2 lens, which supposedly improves low-light performance. T-Mobile's also promising zero shutter lag. I haven't seen this myself, but a similar feature is available in HTC's Sensation 4G on T-Mobile, and the shutter is nearly instantaneous on that phone. Video recording is in 1080p on the Slide.

In addition, the MyTouch 4G Slide will have three special picture-taking modes: "SweepShot" records panoramic photos by making a sweeping motion across the scene, "ClearShot HDR" combines three exposure levels into a single photo, and "BurstShot" takes several photos in rapid succession. Users will be able to post their photos directly from the camera app to Facebook, Picasa, or Flickr -- but not Twitter, apparently.

Of course, T-Mobile is bringing back the "Genius" feature of previous MyTouch phones, allowing users to dictate voice commands by pressing a big button. There's also a hands-free mode that reads all notifications out loud when users are on the road.

As for other specs, the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide will have a 3.7-inch display and Android 2.3, with HTC's Sense interface on top. Qik's video chat software is pre-loaded to make use of the phone's front-facing camera. The MyTouch 4G Slide will also be one of the few Android phones that can play Netflix movies.

I'm a little concerned that T-Mobile hasn't announced battery life or storage capacity yet, but the keyboard-free MyTouch 4G has up to 10 hours of talk time and an 8 GB memory card on board. Hopefully the Slide will meet or exceed those specs.

As dual-core smartphones start to become the norm, wireless carriers will have to pitch their devices in other ways. I haven't seen the MyTouch 4G Slide's camera, so I don't know whether it's noticeably better than the competition, but I'm intrigued by the possibility.

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