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Sprint Readies Third LTE Smartphone

4/16/2012 12:39:33 PM Eastern
 Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint will become the second U.S. carrier to offer the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which the carrier will begin offering on April 22 with 4G LTE at $199.

  The Android 4.0 phone is designed by Google to offer what it calls a "pure Google experience." Verizon Wireless continues to offer its LTE Nexus, launched late last year, at $299.

 Besides pricing its Nexus at a lower price point, Sprint also emphasized that its version offers unlimited-data plans and Google Wallet. Google Wallet uses nearfield communications (NFC) to let users pay for a product by tapping the phone against a point-of-sale terminal.

 As a bonus, Sprint customers who activate a Google Wallet account within a week of activating their Nexus will get a $10 instant credit on their Google Wallet account and an additional $40 credit within three weeks.

 The Nexus is the latest LTE-equipped smartphone to be announced by Sprint, which is transitioning from 4G Mobile WiMAX to LTE. Sprint previously announced that Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio are expected to have 4G LTE and enhanced 3G service in mid-2012. By the end of 2012, Sprint expects to cover 123 million people with 4G LTE and enhanced 3G, and by 2013, reach 250 million people. Sprint offers WiMAX service in 71 markets covering more than 130 million people.

Sprint has promised more than 15 LTE devices in 2012 and has already announced plans for two other LTE Android phones. The phones are the Android 2.3-based LG Viper and HTC Evo 4G LTE Android 4.0 phone.

HTC's Evo 4G LTE will be available nationwide in the second quarter at $199. Presales start May 7. The Viper will be available April 22 for $99.99.

Sprint has also promised a Sierra Wireless Tri-Mode hot spot, whose price and availability haven't been announced. The hot spot combines WiMAX with LTE, whereas the LTE phones lack WiMAX.

The Nexus, unveiled in October by Samsung, features 4G LTE wireless data, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 4.65-inch HD Super AMOLED 1,280 by 720 touchscreen, facial recognition to unlock the phone, stereo Bluetooth 3.0, 1GB RAM and 32GB of onboard memory.

The large display is paired with a narrow 4.29mm bezel to keep the phone's overall size small despite the large screen. The display itself delivers a contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and a color spectrum exceeding that of most TVs, Samsung has said.

Other key features of the 5.1-ounce phone include curved back, 7.5-hour talk time, 0.38-inch depth, 1080p 30 fps video capture, Wi-Fi hot spot, and Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n with n operating at 2.4/5GHz.

 The rear-facing 5-megapixel camera features zero shutter lag and LED flash, the company said. The front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera enables video chat with Google+ Hangouts. Single-motion panoramic picture capability lets users take a panoramic picture by pointing and touching the shutter, then panning the phone from one side to another. The phone also features a photo editor.

With its Android 4.0 OS, the handset also features Android Beam, which lets users share contacts, web pages, YouTube videos, directions and apps by touching two NFC-enabled Android phones back to back.
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