Well, will you look at that. More than seven months after we first got our hands on the Verizon-branded HTC Merge, it's finally headed to Verizon. But according to this screen shot we just got, it's only going to be available through third-party distribution, so don't look for it in a Big Red store.
Not familiar with the Merge? It first surfaced in the fall of 2010, sporting a great keyboard and world phone capability, meaning you can use it on overseas GSM networks (no LTE on this guy). But it had (and from what we've heard, still has) a fatal flaw -- Bing. It's had its Google location and search functionality stripped out and replaced with Microsoft's Bing. The Merge at one point was slated for a Q4 release on Verizon, but that never materialized.
So instead, we now find it relegated to third-party distribution only. That's not quite the same thing is a death sentence (and the Merge has since been announced on Alltel and Cellular South, which piggyback Verizon's network), but it's still a damn shame for such a nice piece of hardware from HTC. But these things happen.
We're trying to track down pricing and such, but figure it'll be in the $150-$199 range. Any more than that might be pushing it for, considering the pace at which newer (and faster) hardware is being released.