If there was one 2011 phone I was excited about in 2010, it was the HTC Merge. If not for the sexy body, then for what appears to be, in my opinion, the best looking Android QWERTY since the G1. But the path of the Merge is beset by numerous hurdles, the most problematic of which being the rumored launch delay that could facilitate an LTE upgrade. If that’s what we’ve been waiting on, then the long delay in release will have been worth the frustration. But there are those who say we may never see the Merge at all–that it simply wasn’t up to snuff on too many spec points and was summarily scrapped.
I happen to be hopeful about the future of what I think will be HTC’s next slider, and we have two new bits of information today from AC that encourage optimism: a Verizon inventory screen that includes the Merge name, and a screen protector for the gadget. With a 3.7″ display at 480 X 800, a sleek design, and what appears to be a killer keyboard, the Merge (a.k.a. Lexikon) is stunning to look at. But will its 800MHz processor keep this Verizon-bound phone in the shadow of Thunderbolt? I’m expecting an affordable phone for those who don’t need intense 3D gaming or other processor-sapping applications.