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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.


YouTube Video for Mobile Viewing

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.

 
There are 36 comments

Interesting for those who want a KB

Jaggrey says:

Is there a difference between this and the Evo Shift?

most likely not. the merge is basically the desire z, just like the g2.

ilongbored says:

Evo Shift has 3.6 inch screen. Merge has 3.8 inch screen according to this press release.

Don't know if anything else is different (besides 4G).

cmfoster23 says:

Looks like the T-Mobile G2 without the 4G

icu says:

It is basically the Desire Z/G2 but without that odd and scary "Z Hinge" (do not want). I still really like this phone - shame there's no news of a spec boost or even LTE integration (maybe it still will launch with LTE).

No news as far as the reason for the delay? 6 Months ago it sounded killer - now it really does seem mid-rangy.

Fact is - as far as I know this looks like the best slide-out keyboard that's ever come to the Android platform. On top of that it's HTC and on VZW (I assume) - so it hit all my check boxes at the time.

EvanJ18 says:

its still a good phone. now granted i havent used any of the new monsters coming out but my Inc is still a great phone and this is quicker still. so if the price is right ($150) it would sell like crazy. especially if it is released on VZW and is the first mid level LTE phone (assuming its got LTE)

IceDree says:

I totally forgot about the Merge !
What took HTC so long ?
By the time it will come out , there could be a Droid 3
let's just hope that the ThunderBolt won't be like this !!!

PhilR8 says:

"Multiple carriers" means regional carriers, most likely.

PhilR8 says:

It also means multiple posts, apparently!

techh10 says:

lol, i think htc was listening to the podcast lastnight and they finally agreed to release it, because of you phil and blackman x for tricking him. :P

hmmm says:

Pretty much same as the Tmobile g2 and the HTC Evo Shift. They must mean verizon and att then or some other the smaller carriers. I certainly cannot see why tmobile or sprint would want to carry this.

Unless MS has something to do with it since isn't this phone using Bing by default or did that change?

n64kps says:

Phil! It's finally coming to fruition! Your hopes and dreams have been answered.

And you were just poking fun at it last night in the podcast haha

Floss82 says:

Well I really hope T-Mobile picks up this phone and it would be even better if it comes with gingerbread and 4G :) Fingers and toes crossed lol

EvanJ18 says:

they have the G2. itd be pointless to have this.

jarobusa says:

They wont since this is a CDMA world phone.

Whatever it is it ain't toppin' the evo! The question is what comes after the evo?? Sprintwise...

SanGo says:

*Warning, Personal Opinion*

The only phone I've seen currently that would pull me from my Evo is The Optimus 3D.

SanGo says:

So...Verizon, AT&T, US Cellular? T-Mo and Sprint would look ridiculous selling two EXTREMELY similar phones by the same company on their networks. It would cause even more unnecessary confusion.

jarobusa says:

It is a world phone. Why is that confusing? You dont want a world phone get the EVO Shift, otherwise buy the EVO Merge.

I agree. It is confusing,

Just like when Verizon came out with the Droid 2, rd2-d2 droid 2 and then droid 2 global

3 variations of the same exact phone

Except the r2-d2 droid was a special edition
So when the droid global came out, the original droid 2 was discontinued. It really does not make much sense to have an evo shift and "evo mege" except it has world phone qualities. If anything, the evo shift would just be discontinued with the merge replacing it

kprz24 says:

Wow that sucks here that it has the same specs would have bought this a few months ago but definetly not now damn...

jarobusa says:

Has anyone read 'HTC's First CDMA Android World Phone'? Sprint and Verizon this one is coming to. Very interested in this phone. World Phone people.

Or Metro, Cellular south, Us Cellular...Bluegrass, i can see the top 2 Cdma carriers and the regionals getting it

JM4G1C says:

Interested in the physical keyboard... but since this dropped off the radar the 'Bolt now has all of my attention... we'll see which one I pull the trigger on.

obidos says:

will this be 4G?? I've had a preorder since 2/12 for 2 TB's and now they officially announce this? I've wanted a physical keyboard - I guess I'm oldschool... we accepted the fact that the TB will not have one. now this throws doubt about getting the TB. UGH!

N05 says:

Who knows at this point?? You'll have to wait another six months for them to tell you.

katvo says:

Any word if this phone is still Binged? If not, I'd choose this over the Thunderbolt just for the physical keyboard aspect.

jayhammy says:

The only thing missing, IMHO, is a front-facing camera. Otherwise, this looks like a great phone. I'm partial to HTC.

As far as world phones, won't the LTE phones also be "world" phones as LTE will be the world standard? Plus, LTE phones have SIM cards for LTE. Can anyone answer that?

dwhitman says:

Kind of tempting, since I travel outside the US for work sometimes. But going back to a smaller screen than my Evo would be tough, and I've never been a fan of landscape keyboards. I probably use my Evo in portrait mode >98% of the time, really only tipping to enlarge a picture now and then.

Gameboy70 says:

Sigh. Yet another slider? Can't Sprint get at least one Android slate phone beyond the Evo with modern specs? Here's hoping that CTIA brings something new.

Meh. Completely vague press release. No specific release listed, no carrier details, no hardware upgrades. Phil showed us this phone months ago so why should I be surprised.

Funny enough, I was planning on buying a Droid 2 off ebay until this came out. Well now I don't have to. But it's 65 in Atlanta today and the weather's been great for the past week so I proclaim it spring. Let's go.

peterfares says:

This keyboard layout is much better than the other Vision and variant layouts. I'd say this is the best followed by the Desire Z, G2, and then the EVO Shift 4G.
Having actual arrow buttons is very nice and I'd much rather have those than a second shift and fn button.

WhitePhone says:

Figures we would even see more of the mythical MERGE before we even know a date for the thunderbolt. I guess pigs are gonna start flying before we know when the thunderbolt will be coming out too.

Chubs#AC says:

Love HTC, love Sense UI, I'm fine with Froyo, ok with single core if it's snappy, but no front-facing camera in this day and age?

BluePlate says:

What does "Spring" mean?? I'm so sick of waiting!

I've been trying to decide between this and the TBolt, but I think I'm leaning toward the Merge. I love physical keybords (what's the good of a giant screen when over half of it is taken up by the virtual keyboard whenever you have to type?), and I really like the global capabilities.

I do wish it had a front-facing camera, but for me, that would really be more of a novelty than a tool at this point.