Multiple Cellular Firsts Hit Market
By Joseph Palenchar On Mar 7 2011 - 5:01am
NEW YORK –
The second month of the year is always
the shortest of the year, but February’s list of cellular
firsts was the longest in recent memory.
HTC, for example, revealed that its long-awaited
Merge Android smartphone will be the company’s first
Android-based CDMA worldphone. It will join the Motorola
Droid Pro, which was the
first Android-based worldphone
when it became available late last
year through Verizon. Both models
operate in 3G mode in CDMA
1x EV-DO Rev. A markets as well
as in foreign HSPA markets for
global 3G data roaming.
In another first, HTC announced
that the Windows
Phone 7 smartphone platform
would come to a U.S. CDMA
network for the first time with the
March 20 arrival of the $199 HTC
Arrive on the Sprint network.
In cellular-equipped tablets,
Motorola began offering the industry’s first Android
3.0-powered tablet, the Xoom.
For its part, T-Mobile launched the $199 Galaxy S
4G Android 2.2 smartphone, the carrier’s first phone
capable of theoretical peak download speeds of up to
21Mbps in HSPA+ markets. It is T-Mobile’s fastest 4G
phone to date.
For the Verizon network, Best Buy announced
pricing of Verizon’s first 3G/4G LTE phone, the HTC
ThunderBolt, which became the first smartphone
priced with contract service to match the $299 price
of the top model in the Apple iPhone 4 lineup. In a
Feb. 27 ad, Best Buy advertised
the $299 with two-year contract.
The ad, however, didn’t say when
the ThunderBolt would be available,
and the retailer has been
telling consumers that the rollout
has been delayed a second time —
from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24 and then
again to an unspecified date.
Here are the details on these
and other phones that were just
launched or whose details were
first 3G/4G phone, the Android
2.2-based ThunderBolt, was
priced by Best Buy at $299 with two-year contract and
required $29.99/month unlimited data plan. The price
without contract is $749. Best Buy is the phone’s exclusive
For the price, consumers will get a touchscreen-
only phone with a 4.3-inch 800 by
480 WVGA screen, 1GHz processor, DLNA,
720p video capture, kickstand, 8GB embedded
memory, MicroSD slot supporting 32GB
cards, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/, hot spot capability
supporting up to eight Wi-Fi devices,
8-megapixel back camera with 720p video
capture, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera
for Skype video chats, FM tuner and assisted
The Android 2.2-based Merge
phone will operate in U.S. 850/1900MHz 3G
CDMA Rev. A networks, in overseas 2.1GHz
3G HSPA networks, and in U.S. and overseas
GSM/EDGE networks. It will be available
through multiple North America carriers in the
spring, presumably including Verizon, which
offers multiple 3G worldphones.
The Merge features a slide-from-the-side
QWERTY keyboard, 3.8-inch capacitive
touchscreen with haptic feedback and pinchto-
zoom capability, 720p video capture, GPS,
Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, 5-megapixel camera with
flash and autofocus, HTC’s Sense user interface,
and HTC’s FriendStream social-media
aggregation service, which delivers Facebook,
Twitter and Flickr updates in a consolidated
The phone also features a 800MHz Qualcomm
processor, 2GB embedded memory,
included 8GB MicroSD card and stereo Bluetooth
The Windows Phone 7 smartphone
platform will come to a CDMA network
for the first time with the March 20 arrival of
the $199 HTC Arrive on the Sprint network.
The phone, priced after $100 mail-in rebate
and two-year contract, is also the first Windows Phone 7 handset to combine a sliding QWERTY
keyboard with a tilt-up display that creates the appearance
of a tiny laptop. It also features such preinstalled
Windows 7 upgrades as copy and paste.
The Arrive is similar to the HTC 7 Pro offered outside
Like the multiple GSM/HSPA Windows 7 phones
available here in the U.S. from T-Mobile and AT&T, the
6.5-ounce Arrive meets Microsoft’s minimum performance
requirements, or “chassis spec,” which mandates
a minimum 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, 800
by 480 capacitive touchscreen, minimum RAM and
flash-memory, and the like. They also feature 720p HD
Motorola and Verizon are confident
enough in the Xoom’s capabilities that they priced it at
$799 without contract, or $70 more than the equivalent,
currently available first-generation no-contract iPad with
32GB of memory and embedded AT&T 3G cellular. The
Xoom, however, is still less than the currently available
$829 64GB 3G iPad.
With a two-year Verizon contract, however, the Xoom’s
price is subsidized down to $599. AT&T doesn’t offer its
iPad with contract, only with prepaid service.
3G service for the Xoom starts at $20/month for 1GB
of data. An upgrade to 4G LTE service will be available
in the second quarter.
Samsung Galaxy S 4G:
Carrier T-Mobile priced
the 4G version of its Samsung Galaxy S smartphone at
$199 after $50 rebate card and announced that consumers
would be able to pay for Samsung’s MediaHub
video-download service through their phone bill.
Right now, only T-Mobile offers direct carrier billing for
Samsung’s MediaHub service, and only for the Galaxy S
4G, not for other MediaHub-equipped phones.
The Galaxy S 4G Android 2.2 smartphone is the carrier’s
fastest 4G phone to date, capable of theoretical peak
download speeds of up to 21Mbps in HSPA+ markets.
Compared with the 3G Galaxy S, the Galaxy S 4G
adds Qik video-chat capability over 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi. It adds a preloaded DoubleTwist with AirSync app, enabling
automatic Wi-Fi syncing of photos, HD video and
music with a home PC.
Like the 3G Galaxy S, also called the Vibrant, the 4G
version features proprietary 4-inch multitouch touchscreen
with Samsung-proprietary Super AMOLED display,
Samsung 1GHz processor, a 5-megapixel rearfacing
camera/camcorder with 720p video capture, LED
flash and DLNA-certified Wi-Fi.