New Smartphones Tap Low, High Ends
By Joseph Palenchar On Jun 20 2011 - 3:01am
NEW YORK —
Carriers and handset vendors announced
new smartphones at prices ranging from
$29.99 for a 3G model to $79.99 and $199 for 4G
The $199 models include Sprint’s 3D “glasses-free”
4G smartphone; the HTC-made Android-based Evo
4G; and U.S. Cellular’s first Windows 7 smartphone,
the $199 HTC 7 Pro with sliding QWERTY keyboard
and tilt-up touchscreen that creates the appearance of
a tiny laptop.
Motorola’s Photon 4G for Sprint, due sometime this
summer, will also tap the top as Sprint’s first 4G phone
with widespread international roaming, but pricing
At lower price points, T-Mobile announced plans to
expand its selection of entry-level Android smartphones with the planned launch of two Samsung-made models,
including the carrier’s lowest-priced 4G Android phone to
date. That’s the $79.99 Samsung Exhibit 4G,
due in June.
T-Mobile’s other new sub-$100 Android
phone is the Samsung Gravity Smart, a slider
due in June at $69.99 in red and blue and at
$29.99 for a gray-color version available only on
Here’s what the carriers announced:
The carrier announced its first Motorola-
made 4G smartphone — the Photon 4G
— and the first Motorola phone for Sprint’s Virgin
Mobile prepaid brand as part of a plan to expand
its roster of Motorola devices.
Both Android phones are due sometime this
summer at an unannounced price and will be
among more than 10 Motorola products that Motorola
will add to the Sprint lineup this year. Those
products include the previously announced 3G
Android-based XPRT and the Wi-Fi-only Xoom
The 4G phone is the Photon 4G, which is
Sprint’s first 4G phone with widespread international
roaming capability, thanks to the inclusion of GSM voice,
GPRS/EDGE data, and W-CDMA voice and data in foreign
GSM/W-CDMA bands. It’s also the first U.S.-market
3G-CDMA/4G phone with such international roaming capabilities.
For Sprint it’s the carrier’s fifth 4G phone available
or announced to date.
The Photon, like Motorola’s Atrix 4G for Verizon, will come
with optional HD multimedia dock that connects the phone
via Bluetooth to a larger display, keyboard and
mouse to browse the web, view smartphonestored
content, and edit and create Microsoft Office
documents. The dock will also display smartphone
video via HDMI on a TV screen. Later on,
the carrier plans to launch a laptop-like dock into
which a docked Photon will act as the device’s
engine, said Sprint product chief Fareb Adib.
The Photon features 1GHz dual-core Nvidia
Tegra 2 processor, 4.3-inch qHD display, kickstand,
Android 2.3 OS, enterprise-grade security,
3G/4G mobile hot spot capability for up to
eight Wi-Fi devices and 1080p output.
The other new Motorola Android phone, available
exclusively to Virgin, is the Motorola Triumph,
which will be Virgin’s third Android phone.
In a separate announcement, Sprint said it
will begin offering its first 3D “glasses-free” 4G
smartphone on June 24 at $199 with two-year
That smartphone is HTC’s Android-based
Evo 4G, which could become the first 3D glasses-free 4G
smartphone available in the U.S. unless AT&T announces
earlier availability of its planned LG-made Thrill.
In launching the glasses-free HTC-made Evo 3D, Sprint
is offering what it calls the world’s first phone with 4.3-inch,
qHD 3D display. Its dual 5-megapixel rear-facing cameras capture video in 720p 3D and 1080p 2D. Movies
in 2D and 3D can be downloaded via the
Blockbuster On Demand app for rent or purchase.
All 3D sources can be displayed in glasses-
free 3D on the phone’s screen, and via HDMI
output or DLNA/Wi-Fi, the 3D video can also be
displayed on a 3D TV. The content will also be
displayed on a 2DTV in 2D form.
The carrier is building up its selection
of entry-level Android smartphones with the
planned launch of two Samsung-made models,
including the carrier’s lowest-priced 4G Android
phone to date.
The low-priced 4G Android smartphone is the
$79.99 Samsung Exhibit 4G, due in June with
the 21Mbps versions of HSPA+ 4G technology.
It will join the $99 Sidekick 4G as the carrier’s
first 4G phones at less than $100. The Exhibit
4G will feature Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS,
1GHz processor, and Samsung’s Media Hub
service, which offers downloads of movies and
TV episodes on a purchase and rental basis. It
also comes with front-facing camera for video
chats over Wi-Fi and cellular.
The other sub-$100 Android phone is the
Samsung Gravity Smart, also due sometime this
month at $69.99 in red and blue and at $29.99
for a gray-color version available only on T-Mobile’s
website. The Gravity Smart features Android
2.2 OS, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and
a 3.2-inch touchscreen.
The carrier launched its first
Windows 7 smartphone as part of a promise to
expand its smartphone portfolio this year to include
seven new Android smartphones.
The CDMA 1X EV-DO carrier also promised to
offer its first 4G LTE smartphone this year as part
of a first wave of 4G devices coming in November.
With the addition of the new Windows 7
phone, the company offers 14 smartphones consisting
of two BlackBerry models, eight Android
models and two Windows models, the company’s
The new Windows 7 phone, which joins a
Windows 6.5 phone, is the $199 HTC 7 Pro,
which is the same phone as the HTC-made Arrive
launched by CDMA carrier Sprint earlier this
year. They’re the first Windows Phone 7 handsets
to combine a sliding QWERTY keyboard
with a tilt-up display that creates the appearance
of a tiny laptop.