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And you thought it would never happen. It's been about six months since our exclusive hands-on with the HTC Merge, and we'd hardly seen or heard a peep from it since. But it's official, folks -- the HTC Merge lives, and it's coming to "multiple North American operators" this spring.

And it looks like the HTC Merge will be the same device we've already seen. Same 3.8-inch touchscreen, same 5MP camera with 720p recording, same World Phone capability (SIM-card slot), same Android 2.2 -- and the same awesome sliding keyboard. The biggest question now is when, and where.

For our complete exclusive preview of the HTC Merge, please see the following stories:

Full presser's after the break, and be sure to check out our HTC Merge Forums.


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The HTC Merge™ Smartphone Brings Android™ and HTC Sense™ to HTC's First CDMA Android World Phone

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BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- HTC Corp., a global designer of smartphones, today announced that the new HTC Merge smartphone will be made available through multiple North American carriers beginning in spring 2011. The HTC Merge smartphone combines a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard with the power of Android 2.2, the HTC Sense experience, a large 3.8-inch touch-screen display and a 5 megapixel camera to create a complete mobile experience for those looking for a truly complete smartphone. The HTC Merge is also HTC's first Android-based CDMA world phone.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110225/SF54676)

"HTC prides itself on creating unique solutions that meet the needs of different customers, and with features like a full keyboard and global 3G roaming, the HTC Merge smartphone is the perfect example of this commitment," said Jason Mackenzie, president, HTC Americas. "Combining the functionality of Android with the HTC Sense experience, the HTC Merge is the perfect device for those customers who are looking for a reliable mobile experience with the features and functionality of a smartphone, whether it's at home or travelling around the world."

Customers will appreciate seamless integration with Exchange ActiveSync, enjoy quick and easy access to Flickr® for sharing and viewing pictures, and find new ways to customize their experience with the Android Market™ with more than 100,000 applications. With a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, customers will be able to keep in touch with friends and family no matter where they are, as well as stay in the loop with Flickr, Facebook® and Twitter™ updates through HTC FriendStream™.

In addition, the HTC Merge smartphone has a 5 megapixel camera with auto-focus and flash that captures outstanding images, while 3G connectivity makes sharing those special moments with friends and family quick and easy. The HTC Merge smartphone also comes with integrated GPS, Wi-Fi connectivity and even the ability to capture high-definition 720p video.

Availability

HTC Merge is slated to be available from multiple North American operators beginning in spring 2011.