New York - 4G-equipped
smartphones came in at the low and high end of the price spectrum in recent
days, along with a smattering of new entry-level 3G smartphones.
Highlights include the launch of
Verizon's $99 4G Pantech Breakout, marking the carrier's lowest launch price
for a 4G phone to date and matching the price of Sprint's first $99 4G
Other recent 4G introductions
the first two T-Mobile 4G
phones to operate in the carrier's 4G HSPA+42 network, both with dual-core
and AT&T's version of
Samsung's flagship Galaxy S II.
In 3G phones, T-Mobile unveiled
its first BlackBerry Curve with new BlackBerry 7 OS, and prepaid carrier
Cricket unveiled its first ZTE-brand smartphone.
All of the smartphones are based
on the Android OS, helping propel an upsurge in Android adoption. A Nielsen
survey conducted in August found that 43 percent of U.S. smartphone owners have
an Android device and that a majority of smartphone purchasers in the previous three
months - or 56 percent -- opted for Android.
"Recent acquirers are important as they are
often a leading indicator of where the market is going," said telecom research
director Don Kellogg.
The survey also found that 28
percent of all smartphone users own an Apple iOS smartphone and that the same
percentage of recent smartphone buyers bought an iOS device.
Among new Android devices, the 4G
Pantech Breakout became available exclusively on the Verizon network at at $99,
marking the carrier's lowest launch price for a 4G phone. It follows the Sept.
8 launch of the Motorola-made Droid Bionic at $299, the May 26 launch of the LG-made
Revolution at $249.99, the April 28 launch of the Samsung-made Droid Charge at
$299, and the March 17 launch of HTC's ThunderBolt 4G at $249.
The $99 Pantech Breakout also
follows Sprint's August 21 launch of the $99 Samsung Conquer 4G. It was
Sprint's first 4G smartphone to launch at less than $100.
Verizon's $99 4G phone became
available Sept. 22 with Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS, 1GHz
processor, 4-inch capacitive touch display (480 by 800), and Digital Living
Network Alliance (DLNA) capability.
Other features include 4G mobile
hotspot feature supporting up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, virtual QWERTY
keyboard featuring SWYPE technology for faster typing, 5-megapixel autofocus
rear-facing camera with HD video capture up to 720p; VGA front-facing camera
for still shots and video chatting; Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0 with
stereo and audio/video remote control (AVRC) profiles, and GB pre-installed MicroSD
The $99 price through Verizon's
direct channels comes after $50 mail in rebate in the form of a debit card.
At AT&T, the carrier plans Oct.
2 availability of its version of the Samsung Galaxy S II, priced at $199 for
its with 4G HSPA+ 21Mbps network.
. Sprint has already launched its own 4G version of the Galaxy S II.
The S II is thinnest smartphone
on each carriers' network, and AT&T has the thinnest version of all at
8.89mm in dept at its narrowest point.
The AT&T version features the
Android Gingerbread 2.3 platform, 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, dual-core
1.2 GHz processor, Motion UX sensors, 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture,
HDMI output enabling 1080p display on a TV of rented or purchased movies and TV
shows from the Samsung Media Hub service.
Also in 4G phones, T-Mobile
unveiled its first two 4G phones to operate on its HSPA+42 4G network, said to
deliver peak data download speeds of 42Mbps in more than 150 U.S. markets.
Other select 4G phones from
T-Mobile operate in HSPA+ 21 mode on its 4G network.
Both phones - the $259 HTC Amaze
4G and the $229 Samsung Galaxy S II - have been showing average download speeds
approaching 8 Mbps with peak speeds around 20Mbps, the carrier noted.
Both phones also feature
dual-core 1.5GHz processors, delivering more processing power than any other
smartphone announced to date by U.S. carriers. The Galaxy S II versions for
AT&T and Sprint feature dual-core 1.2GHz processors.
The Amaze 4G and Galaxy S II will
be available in an online pre-sale via www.T-Mobile.com
beginning Oct. 10, with sales through T-Mobile retail stores and select dealers
nationwide starting Oct. 12. Prices through T-Mobile stores are after a $50
The carrier also announced its
first HSPA+42 mobile hot spot, the Huawei-made T-Mobile Sonic 4G Mobile
Hotspot, which connects up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to its HSPA+42
network. It's expected is expected to be available in October at an unannounced
The HTC Amaze 4G offers multiple
high-performance camera features, including 8-megapixel camera, 1080p video
capture, zero shutter lag, dual-LED flash, dedicated camera button, and the
carrier's first direct-to-camcorder button. The device also offers such new
camera-related features as SmartShot, which captures five photos to deliver the
best shot of people with smiles and open eyes. Another new camera feature is
PerfectPics, which automatically creates a separate album prioritized by
picture quality, the presence of faces, and such criteria as important calendar
The device runs on Android 2.3.4
and offers the HTC Sense user interface, 4.3-inch qHD super LCD multitouch
display, and NFC capabilities for wireless searching, information sharing and,
in the future, mobile payments, the carrier said.
Other Amaze features include HTC
Watch service, which enables downloads of movies and TV shows for purchase or
rental, and T-Mobile TV service, which enables live streaming of TV programs and
For its part, the Samsung Galaxy
S II will feature the largest screen size available on a T-Mobile smartphone
with 4.52-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen display. The device uses the
Android 2.3.5 OS.
The Galaxy S II also streams
thousands of premium movies and TV shows through Netflix, accesses T-Mobile TV
in "Mobile HD" quality, and downloads TV shows and movies from Samsung Media
Hub service. The phone also features DLNA compatibility and HDMI out to display
content on an HDTV.
Also at T-Mobile, the carrier announced
plans for the BlackBerry
Curve 9360, at $79.99 (after a $50 mail-in rebate card in direct channels).
It's the carrier's first Curve with the new BlackBerry 7 OS.
The 3G smartphone became
available in black Sept. 28 and will be available in an exclusive merlot color
starting Oct. 12. Sprint launched its first Curve with BlackBerry 7 OS on Sept.
9 at $79.
Curve 9360 features include 2.4-inch
display, no touchscreen, full QWERTY keypad, navigation track-pad, 800MHz
processor, 5-megapixel camera with flash, video recorder, and Wi-Fi.
For its part, prepaid carrier
Cricket launched its first smartphone from China's ZTE. Cricket is the first
carrier to launch the ZTE Score, which became available September 25 in Best
Buy and Best Buy Mobile locations across the United States at a suggested
$199.99. It will also become available soon through Cricket stores and other dealers.
The Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) phone
features 600MHz processor, 3.5-inch HVGA capacitive touch display,
accelerometer, virtual QWERTY keypad, 3.2MP camera, and WiFi.
Score also comes with Cricket's Muve Music service, which offers
unlimited song downloads ringtones, and ringback tones as part of a wireless