updated 05:30 pm EDT, Sat October 2, 2010
HTC Merge pre-review shows it beating rivals
The HTC Merge had virtually all its details exposed today in a pre-review that also provided surprising benchmarks. The Android 2.2 slider is said to have good build quality and a well-designed keyboard, and has the suspected GSM SIM slot preloaded with a Vodafone card for European roaming. It uses the latest version of HTC Sense, but as expected requires mandatory Bing; Android Central notes that Google Maps is still downloadable, however.
A five-megapixel camera makes it no different than most typical HTC Android phones, although it records 720p video from the start rather than needing a firmware update. The Merge appears to use the same 3.7-inch Sony Super LCD as other similar HTC phone, which reduces the vividness of the image but makes it more accurate and easier to read outdoors.
Although the smartphone is running an 800MHz Qualcomm Snapdragon rather than the 1GHz of earlier chips, tests show that the chip is actually as fast or faster than a Nexus One in common tests like Linpack and Quadrant. The same chip is that which powers the just-shipping T-Mobile G2 as well as its international equivalent, the Desire Z.
The recent Verizon roadmap puts the shipping in late October or early November, but it may be unveiled as early as next week at the CTIA phone expo in San Francisco.