HTC Merge hands-on

Want more on the HTC Merge on Verizon? We've got it. Want some solid hands-on time captured in moving pictures? We've got that, too. What we've got is hands-on video of the HTC Merge, the as yet still-unannounced Android 2.2 phone that'll (presumably) be coming to Verizon as soon, well, as soon as it's announced. (And note that the name "Merge" is still subject to change.)

You'll have to excuse any excited grins you see reflected in the Merge's screen. All things Bing notwithstanding, we're slightly over the moon about the Merge, which is likely to be Verizon's second world phone, when it's finally released. Let's all hold hands and watch the video after the break.

More exclusive coverage of the HTC Merge:
Initial hands-on | Photo Gallery | Benchmarks | Droid 2 Comparison | Forums


YouTube Video for Mobile Viewing
 
There are 33 comments

Dperks17 says:

Ew

Art13 says:

This phone is starting to look better and better everytime. I wish they would just anounce the release date already. This will easily be the best Android phone on Verizon.

ChuckG73 says:

Besides a physical keyboard and being a world phone, why will this be the best Android phone on Verizon? Will this still be the case when the Droid 2 Global phone gets released? I still think the DInc will rule supreme.

Menno says:

Next generation mobile processor (should mean much better battery life)

The Droid2 Global will have an efuse, and the physical keyboard will be worse. I've used a Droid2 and I have a Droid. This keyboard looks lightyears ahead of it.

The Dinc is a nice phone, but this thing is basically the Dinc 2.0 with a keyboard.

jxcgunrunna says:

This is at least the second time you have said eFuse in this post and it is getting annoying. There are so many people even here on AndroidCentral who have no idea what they are talking about. The locked bootloader on the Droid X, Droid 2 and Milestone have absolutely nothing to do with eFuze. Not to sound like an ass but let me repeat that so people will see it.

Locked bootloaders have nothing to do with eFuze.

Now that we have that out of the way lets talk about the ROM and themeing community around the Droid X and Droid 2. They are out there and growing. The Droid X and Droid 2 have custom ROM's much like any other major android phone. The only thing that can not be done on the DX and D2 is kernel work and that is not as big of a deal as it was on the Droid because they are already running at 1GHz.

Menno says:

They asked why someone would want the Merge over the Droid2 global

The "locked bootloader" as you call it is one of these reasons. (fighting over wording is kinda pointless) Motorola is also decidedly developer unfriendly, where HTC went out of their way to help early adopters of leaked software (this could be at Sprint's request in all fairness)

The locked bootloader is why the device isn't getting support from Cyanogen and several other cross device development communities. What the people are doing on the Dx and D2 is amazing, and I'm not trying to steal any of their thunder, but what Motorola did is a FAR cry from the NAND-Lock that is on devices like the Evo, even if you discount custom Kernals.

jxcgunrunna says:

Actually, we are not fighting over words. eFuze is a chipset feature that is not even being used. It is the name of a piece of technology that is in no way related to locked bootloaders. That means even if they move to Tegra 2 for some phones, they can still lock the bootloader.

I agree that this shit that Moto is pulling is pretty dumb and coupling that with Verizon's bloatware is really hurting the Droid X and Droid 2. I am pissed about it and I love my OG Droid.

Cyanogen has said nothing about ruling out the Droid X or Droid 2 for ROM support.

Menno says:

Cyanogen was pretty explicit at launch that he had no desire to work on the devices because of what moto did (and what they said about "this is not a developer phone")

I know Koush made the bootstraps and clockwork for it, but that's about it. I guess if someone joined Cyanogen to work on it they might write it in, but Cyanogen himself did swear off the phones (quite colorfully) over twitter when the digitally signed bootloader came to light.

jxcgunrunna says:

http://www.koushikdutta.com/2010/02/clockwork-recovery-image.html

Rom manager for Droid X.

Things have changed since then. BTW, Cyanogen does not work on a lot of the phones that are supported by Cyanogenmod.

* Nexus One: Cyanogen
* Droid: Koush
* Dream/Sapphire: Cyanogen
* Hero: Lox (GSM), Darchstar (CDMA)
* Desire: Kali-, Defer
* Incredible: Koush
* Espresso (Slide): Wes Garner, Chris Soyars, Cyanogen
* Supersonic (EVO): Cyanogen, toastcfh
* Galaxy S (Vibrant): Scepterr, Wes Garner
* Legend: Alexander Hofbauer
so all it would take is a dev, including Koush, to pick up the ball and port it. Koush has his hands full with the Droid and Inc. along with his Bootstrap and Clockworkmod but you never know. One can all ways hope!

angermeans says:

That is a great idea but it can't happen you need to read up on your device as of now the Droid X and 2 are incapable of running Cyanogen with the bootloader locked. It will remain that way until it is unlocked. Like I said above the only ROMs on the Moto phones are ROMs that still essentially run Blur but have features either stripped or added. The devs have made a lot of progress with the X and 2 and they should be commended and I hope for nothing more than to eat my words but we will never have the best of both worlds when it comes to Motorola and an open Android. Cyanogen is an ASOP (Android Open Source Project) build. Until some major work is done on these Moto phones then we are stuck much as the Motorola Milestone and many have worked on unlocking that bootloader for almost a year now. And you say that the eFuse isn't that big of a deal but really it kind of is. If anything it is a deterrent that keeps great devs from cracking it as they are more at risk of locking their phones.

jxcgunrunna says:

I know what ASOP is. What does that have to do with Cyanogenmod not being able to run on it? Sapphire is ASOP and it runs on it. Actually it was one of the first ROMs for the Droid X.

eFuse is not connected to the bootloader at all! Did you not read what I posted above?

angermeans says:

Speak for your self that being able to flash a kernal "isn't that big of a deal" I had the Droid 2 and the Droid X and they both had some of the nicest hardware on the market but thats it. They are buggy and give the user no choice to change it. A lot of headway has been achieved on the X and 2 but there is still a long way to go until we enjoy the Moto phones the way they should be. This is the main reason that the Droid Inc is by far the best phone on Verizon as it doesn't have a locked bootloader and has a much better skin in Sense than Motorolas slow and buggy software.

jxcgunrunna says:

I agree that Ninjablur or whatever you want to call that skin is shit but the kernel has nothing to do with the buggyness of the phone. It is the code that Moto wrote. HTC is better at writing code than Motorola. Not a huge surprise.

Do you know what a kernel is? It is low level software that connects the hardware to the OS. Sure it is important but from a ROM development standpoint, it is not mandatory to have your own kernel or even a modified one. It is nice but 1ghz is really fast on these OMAP chips.

Smokexz says:

Reason I think this is the best device: it isn't Motorola, they are just meh when it comes to doing this.

Menno says:

World Edition: Check
Not Motorola (no efuse): Check

The only thing I don't like is bing (but I can get over/root over it) and that it's not stock android.

Even though it's motorola, I really want to see what the T2 is about. If it's like the original Droid launch (stock, no efuse) I might consider that one. If not, I'll be getting this device or something like it.

DolfanCole says:

Thanks for the hands-on, but the lighting is really bad in this video. Very hard to see the phone display at all.

bigdav1178 says:

It looks like it could be a really good phone (except for the Bing); I'm anxiously waiting for it to come out, and hopefully picking one up then. But what I want to know: Is this thing going to have the same problem being rooted/ROM'd as the G2 is currently having? It appears to be a modified version of the Desire Z / G2, so I think it's far from being out of the question. Bing isn't that big of a deal as long as the phone can be rooted and de-Bing'd; but if it has issues being rooted, that could be a deal breaker for me.

We keep seeing these little tidbits of info and hands-on of this phone, but how 'bout some real news we want to know... I would expect the root procedure for this thing to be very similar to that for the G2. How 'bout giving it a try and letting us know what you find out.

Comineeyeaha says:

I've had a sneaking suspicion for a while that he records the video first and then VO's the dialog, and the reflection on the screen here proves it! I've figured you out, Nickinson.

dgalanter says:

I think I like more the DInc's dual flash and better camera (not sure the 5mp and 8mp makes so much difference, but the flash I think does). That said, I wonder how much I'd use the keyboard.

Nice phone, though!

Clow says:

Another cheap htc phone this week?

paul_704 says:

Nice phone but Verizon will do anything for money. Bing is for a WP7 and google is for Android phones.Keep Bing on Windows 7 phones and Google on Android phones and let the paying customers choose which one they want, or better yet give us both with the ability to delete which ever one we want. The Dinc with Google search 8MP camera and dual LED flash is still #1 in my book...I love it!!!

bladerunn3r says:

I don't won't Bing on my phone either, but people talk about it as though it cripples the phone. Its like all the people bitching about philblur on motorola phones. It may not be quite as nice as sense, but it's more than competent.

KrazyRogue says:

Hey Phil, do you think maybe that shortcut button says APL or AP1?

sslattery says:

I gotta be honest here...Im not that impressed with this phone. I was hoping for something like an EVO. Dual cameras etc. ya know? this is just an Incredible with a facelift

Come on big red give us something to keep us from going to sprint!

Menno says:

CES in January. 6+ LTE handsets/tablets. Pretty much did it for me.

I don't really see the point of a front facing camera, at least not until it's actually adopted more.

Verizon's answer to the evo was the Dx, no FFC, but that's because they started workin on it 9 months ago and Apple wasn't even hinting at facetime back then (Yes, I know the Evo had it in the states first, but apple did a much better job of marketing the feature, so most people who are looking for the feature are doing so because of Facetime and not qik)

I fully expect the Dx2 and the LTE handsets to have front facing camera's

BoNg420 says:

There is going to be a VZW HTC phone coming out soon that is just like the EVO.

angermeans says:

YEp and that phone will be my next phone. I am hoping it will run the newest Snapdragons but at 1 ghz like the Desire HD and will have the new sense. That paired with Verizons 4G is what keeps me up at nights LOL

sslattery says:

man i hope so. Im still rippin the Original Droid my plans up in Feb. and by then if theres nothing that sparks my interest im gonna be pretty disappointed

The novelty of the front facing camera is nice video chat will be a nice addition. In my case im going to china this winter then the UK all next spring so video chat other than skype on my laptop would be nice

Clow says:

Agree with crazy rogue looks like junk to me. Get the x and call it a day

Jonneh says:

If only AT&T would, you know, release an HTC phone that's high-end...

Mano123 says:

@jonneh yeah if only :/ I'm there with ya. I want this phone so bad, verizon always gets the good phones :/ its a htc model need I say more. it may not have a frontfaceing camera but really who would use it? if it wasn't for that evo having one we wouldn't be complaining bout phones not having it.

aznmode says:

Hey is Phil really speaking at the time of the video? I see his reflection and hear him talking but I don't see his lips moving in the reflection. Man Ive always had gutt feelings he was some sort of magician.

ElijahIsMe says:

ok. i know i speak for more when i say this but, what is up with keyboard phones on verizon. theres the droid 2. the droid 2 global. the r2d2 droid 2. and now this? i was REALLY looking for a follow up to the DInc or an evo-like phone from HTC to verizon this year. but whaddya know. another keyboard...