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10/1/2009
06:12 PM
Marin Perez
Marin Perez
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Verizon Intros HTC Imagio

Verizon Wireless is trying to stamp out its reputation for not having good smartphone by introducing the HTC Imagio, the carrier's first handset to have Windows Mobile 6.5. At $200, the touch-screen handset is a pretty good deal considering its packing some major hardware.

Verizon Wireless is trying to stamp out its reputation for not having good smartphone by introducing the HTC Imagio, the carrier's first handset to have Windows Mobile 6.5. At $200, the touch-screen handset is a pretty good deal considering its packing some major hardware.The first thing that will jump out is the ample 3.6-inch display that can give you an 800 by 400 resolution. You'll likely be spending a lot of time staring at that screen if you shell out for Verizon's V Cast mobile TV service, which will offer live TV programming from the likes of CBS, Comedy Central, ESPN, NBC, and others. The service is provided by Flo TV, and there's even an antenna on the back that doubles for a kickstand. Of course this all comes at a price, as users will have to pay $15 a month for the service, which is way too high in my opinion. Mobile TV will never take off in the United States until it can get down in price. I think $5 a month is probably the sweet spot, but the business models don't work for that pricing yet.

Even though it's not a Touch device, the Imagio will come with the TouchFlo 3D user interface to make it a bit more finger-friendly. I've found this to be a very elegant way to mask Windows Mobile's clunky, desktop-like user experience, but there are still some weird elements to it. The TouchFlo is very pretty, but sometimes it can slow down. Even worse, it's almost too pretty - when you have to jump from TouchFlo to Windows Mobile the difference can be jarring. I guess that's more of a complaint for Microsoft really.

The new features of Windows Mobile 6.5 aren't that revolutionary, as the best thing is the access to Windows Marketplace for Mobile to browse, download, buy, and install apps over the air. While this is nice for mainstream users, Windows Mobile enthusiasts have been swapping apps and ROMs for years. Still, this does put the platform on par with rivals, and things like the My Phone backup system are pretty neat.

Beyond those features, the handset will have all the features you expect from a high-end smartphone like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, assisted-GPS, a 5-megapixel camera, microSD slot, a standard headphone jack, and a decent 528-MHz Qualcomm processor. The handset will start going on sale on Verizon's Web site Oct. 6.

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