It’s finally official: T-Mobile has announced it’ll ship the myTouch 3G in early August. It’s the phone that’s also known as the HTC Magic–the second phone based on Google’s Android OS, and the first one that looks to be an impressive handset rather than an intriguing proof of concept. (The G1, the first Android phone is pretty clunky from a hardware standpoint, with battery life that’s iffy at best.)
T-Mobile is playing up the idea that the myTouch will be more customizable than the iPhone, via skins, widgets, and other interface tweaks. I haven’t seen any of these features, but they sound like a logical enough to the question “So remind me again why I should buy this instead of an iPhone?” Which is a query which every non-Apple smartphone must answer explicitly or implicitly. Palm’s Pre does so in part through having a strikingly different form factor than the iPhone; the myTouch looks a bit like a chunkier iPhone (it has a removable battery) with a smaller screen and more buttons and a trackball.
Like TechCrunch’s M.G. Siegler, I’ve been playing with a phone that’s essentially identical to the myTouch from a hardware standpoint–the Google Ion, which Google distributed at its I/O developer conference last month. It’s a pleasing phone that looks good and fits well in the hand–one of HTC’s nicest industrial designs. I still think that Android is a promising platform that’s still in search of major unique benefits to consumers, but perhaps T-Mobile’s customization options will help. In any event, it’s good to see a second Android device come out, even though the OS will only live up to its potential once there are lots of Android phones.
The myTouch will sell for $199 with a two-year T-Mobile contract; that’s the same price as the Pre and the 16GB iPhone 3G S.
Here’s a quick photo of the iPhone 3G S and the Ion–the Ion is black, but the myTouch will come in black, white, or “Merlot.”