US Cellular HTC Merge now available for $149.99, LG Genesis to launch on June 9

The HTC Merge, this CDMA version of the Desire Z, is now finally available on US Cellular. Today’s release was expected, even if we first thought the device would launch about a month ago.

Again as expected, the price is $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate. That price is what you have to pay for the phone if you opt to sign a new two-year contract of course, and you’ll also have to get a data plan. The HTC Merge is US Cellular’s first Android-powered ‘Global Ready’ phone. That means that you can travel to virtually anywhere on Earth and still use the Merge as your phone, since it has both a CDMA radio for use on US soil, as well as a GSM/HSPA radio for use elsewhere. It’s nice to see this trend that Verizon has started catch on with smaller carriers. It’s been far too long that customers of CDMA networks in the US were denied the right to travel with their phone.

The HTC Merge has an 800 MHz processor, a 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, a full physical side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, a 5 MP autofocus camera with 720p HD video recording, Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, and GPS. It runs Android 2.2 Froyo.

The LG Genesis is an upcoming smartphone that has been inadvertently leaked by LG itself last week, and now US Cellular has finally decided to announce it. The Genesis will become available on June 9 and it will cost the same as the Merge – $149.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate, with a new two-year contract and data plan required.

The LG Genesis has a flip design and two touchscreens (both have 800×480 resolution, one is 3.5″ and the other is 3.2″), a full physical QWERTY keyboard, a 5 MP camera, 32 GB of storage space (we’re guessing via a preinstalled microSD card), plus all the usual bells and whistles. The LG Genesis has a 1500 mAh battery and, like the HTC Merge, runs Android 2.2 Froyo.

And that, the software version they run, is the main problem with both these smartphones. It’s becoming increasingly irritating to see manufacturers and carriers still release brand new devices running a version of the OS that has been launched almost a year ago – with a newer version already out for about six months.

Of course, if you don’t care about all that, both of these handsets are very interesting offerings, and if you’re a US Cellular customer, or want to become one, make sure you’ll consider both of them for your next purchase.

Author: Vlad Bobleanta

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