HTC Imagio: Verizon's must-have phone?

Verizon Wireless isn't known for great smartphones, but the carrier will get at least one nice-looking phone in a few weeks, with the HTC Imagio set to arrive on October 6.

Verizon Wireless isn't known for great smartphones, but the carrier will get at least one nice-looking phone in a few weeks, with the HTC Imagio set to arrive on October 6.

The Windows Mobile 6.5 phone was previously codenamed the HTC Whitestone, and has a 3.6-inch WVGA touch screen, a 528-Mhz Qualcomm processor, 512MB ROM, 256 MB of RAM, and support for GSM along with Verizon's CDMA/EV-DO network. There's also a 5-megapixel autofocus camera and GPS, according to Boy Genius Report.

Spec-wise, the phone's a lot like HTC's Touch Pro 2, released for Verizon customers in July. Still, the Imagio's boost to WinMo 6.5 could correct the sluggishness we felt with the otherwise solid Touch Pro 2.

For the Windows Mobile haters, there may also be some good news ahead: BGR says the Android-powered HTC Predator will come to Verizon later in October, though we haven't seen photos and know nothing else about it. Given HTC's track record, it'll probably be some variation on the touch screen phone theme.

Any sign of slick smartphones bodes well for Verizon's captives. Earlier this week, it was all doom and gloom, with Wired's Gadget Lab running a story on why the carrier's phones are lame. Most telling was a quote from Verizon spokeswoman Brenda Raney, who said the company would rather focus on its network than its stable of phones.

"Keep in mind that for Verizon Wireless, it isn't so much about the device as it is about the delivery," Raney said. In other words, while you may enjoy great coverage on the carrier's 3G network, you may not particularly love using your phone.

Will the HTC Imagio change all that? Probably not. I can't imagine any Windows Mobile 6.5 phone having the buzz and desirability of Palm's Pre or, dare I say it, the iPhone. But any phone with solid hardware and a nice, big touch screen is a step in the right direction for Verizon Wireless.

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Jared Newman

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