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Big Plus: T-Mobile To Begin HTC G2 Preorders

Android-based successor to the G1 phone is said to offer 4G-like speeds on T-Mobile's HSPA+ network.

It'll be an Android 2.2 phone and run on T-Mobile's HSPA+ data network, which while not a 4G network offers what T-Mobile is calling 4G-like speeds up to 21 Mbps. T-Mobile hasn't confirmed pricing or exact availability but said it would open the G2 to presales for existing customers at the end of September.

Notable for the HTC G2 is that it has a modified hinge that opens up to a slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The phone also includes Swype text entry software for its touch screen, an 800MHz Snapdragon processor, support for a 32-GB microSD card, and Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth capability. It also has a 3.7-inch display, a 5-megapixel camera with LED flash and autofocus, and can shoot video in 720p HD resolution.

The G2 further sports Android 2.2 at launch and will include a number of enhanced Google-centric features, according to T-Mobile, including Voice Actions for Google Search; integrated access to Google's Internet calling service, Google Voice; and the usual Google bells and whistles, from Gmail to Maps.

Speculation about the G2 began months ago. In July, a leaked product road map apparently showing upcoming devices launching on T-Mobile revealed that a phone called the HTC Vanguard was planned for Sept. 9. Last month, a promotional page hit T-Mobile's Web site, confirming the G2 and mentioning a few choice details.

T-Mobile back in June also said it had upgraded its current 3G network to HSPA+ in 25 U.S. metropolitan areas, covering some 75 million potential users. HSPA+, also known as "evolved HSPA," is not considered a 4G standard but offers significant speed upgrades, topping out at 21 Mbps.

T-Mobile's G1 phone launched in late 2008 and at that time it was the first U.S. carrier to bring an Android-based smartphone to market. The Android platform has exploded since then, posting eye-popping growth and now seen on some of the year's most compelling smartphone and mobile device offerings from HTC, Motorola, Samsung and other manufacturers.

"T-Mobile ignited the spark that set the Android world ablaze two years ago with the launch of the world's first Android-powered mobile phone, the T-Mobile G1, which remains an important milestone for both T-Mobile and the Android operating system," said Cole Brodman, chief technology and innovation officer, T-Mobile USA, in a statement. "Now, with the launch of the T-Mobile G2, we are reteaming with our partners at Google and HTC to provide T-Mobile customers with another first -- the first Android smartphone designed to deliver 4G speeds on our new network."

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