We knew that the T-Mobile MyTouch 4G Slide was on the way — or, at least, we had a pretty darn good reason to believe as much. Sure enough, it’s the real deal: ol’ Magenta has just painted it up with a proper press release, announcing that it’ll it the stores sometime in July for an as-of-yet-undisclosed price.
T-Mobile’s decided to take a somewhat rarely taken route with the marketing behind this one. Rather than playing up the 1.2 Ghz processor, the “4G” connectivity (with “4G” in quotes, of course, because T-Mobile’s 4G is arguably not actual 4G), or the 3.7″ WVGA (800×480) SuperLCD display, they’re pointing all of their hype machine’s energy at a different component: the camera.
Based on megapixels alone (which, really, is a terrible metric anyway) the camera doesn’t seem like anything special: at 8 megapixels, it’s not exactly alone in its space. And yet, T-Mobile claims the Slide 4G has the “most advanced camera of any smartphone”.
The tricks, says T-Mobile, are all in the software. To snag straight from their press release:
· An 8-megapixel camera sensor with backside illumination for improved low light performance
· Zero Shutter lag: The myTouch 4G Slide is the only cameraphone on the market with Zero Shutter lag technology. When a customer opens the camera application, the camera begins recording in the background in a memory buffer. When you snap the camera button, rather than waiting for a mechanical shutter, it looks at the timestamp of when you pressed the button and pulls the photo from the cache. Thus, there is no delay between pressing that button and grabbing that perfect shot.
· The camera also has a very advanced lens with an f-number value of f/2.2. This allows users to take photos with greater depth of field. This means photographs taken with a low f-number will tend to have subjects at one distance in focus, with the rest of the image (nearer and farther elements) out of focus. Other high end smartphones (i.e. iPhone 4GS) have an f-stop value of f/2.8.
· Digital camera features, including:
o SweepShot™: Used to capture ultra-wide panoramic shots so that you can sweep across an entire scene in a single shot
o ClearShot™ HDR: Used to capture objects in high contrast settings so that photos details are not lost
o BurstShot™: Used to capture multiple photos in a quick burst so that you don’t miss the perfect photo
Backside illumination? That’s pretty great. An f-number value of f/2.2, as opposed to the mostly-standard f/2.8? Not really too big of a deal when we’re dealing with itty-bitty smartphone camera sensors, but a nice touch. The myriad SweepShot/ClearShot/BurstShot and what-not features? Sounds fun.
The most intriguing bit, though, is that “Zero Shutter lag” concept. As they put it, it’s constantly “recording” photos in the background by storing them to temporary memory. Once you push the shutter button they take the time stamp, pull the time-relative picture from memory, and bam: you’ve got a photo without having to wait for the shutter. While it’s a clever idea, we’ll definitely have to see how it works in practice before we judge. The way it stands, it sounds like they’re essentially recording a movie then pulling a specific frame from it — which, as anyone who’s ever paused an action movie can tell you, can result in a nasty, blurry mess.
Look for this one to ship with Android 2.3 sometime in July (We’ll update you if we hear anything more specific, promise!) in two color options: black and … khaki? Really? Khaki? Of all the cool ways they could have described that color — sand, toasted marshmallow… hell, even good ol’ tan would have worked — they’d rather conjure up images of semi-casual work pants? Shut up, we’re calling it sand. LOOK FOR IT IN BLACK OR SAND.
Update: T-Mobile has now disclosed the price. Just like its predecessor the myTouch Slide 3G, the Slide 4G will go for $199.99 on a 2-year contract