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New 3G, 4G Cellphones Hit Market


New 3G and 4G smartphones hit the
market in recent days as key carriers reported that
smartphones accounted for a still-growing percentage
of their users in the first quarter.

The new phones include:

• White iPhone 4, which had been delayed for 10
months because of unspecified manufacturing difficulties.

• Verizon’s second 4G LTE smartphone, the Samsung-
made Droid Charge, which at $299 joined the
HTC-made 4G ThunderBolt, which retails for $174 to
$249 depending on the outlet.

• Verizon’s 3G HTC-made Droid Incredible 2, which
adds global 2G and 3G roaming capability, frontfacing
video camera, a longer battery life, and thinner
form factor compared to its predecessor. The Android
2.2-based 3G smartphone is priced at $199.99.

• Verizon’s first ruggedized Android-based smartphone,
the Casio G’Zone Commando, retailing at
$199.99 through the carrier’s on-line store and
through its B2B sales force. It joins the first ruggedized
Android smartphone, the Motorola i1, launched
last year by Sprint for its iDEN network.

• Google Nexus S 4G phone, available May 8 on the
Sprint network through all Sprint channels at $199.
It’s Sprint’s fourth 4G phone, but will be Google’s first
4G model, which features what Sprint calls a “pure
Google experience.”

The product announcements
follow continued gains
in smartphone penetration
rates in the first quarter, as
reported by key carriers.

Activations of Verizon’s
iPhone 4 and HTC’s 4G
Thunderbolt accounted for
54 percent of the carrier’s
retail postpaid net subscriber
additions of 906,000, up
from the 412,000 postpaid
net adds from the year-ago quarter.

In the first quarter, Verizon also boasted that it activated
2.2 million iPhones. Although that number
didn’t match AT&T’s first-quarter iPhone activations of
3.6 million, Verizon didn’t start offering the iPhone until
Feb. 10, and the carrier’s iPhone rollout to all of its
distribution channels wasn’t complete until mid March,
the carrier said.

The iPhone and ThunderBolt purchases helped
push the percentage of Verizon subscribers using
smartphones to 32 percent from the fourth quarter’s 28 percent.

At AT&T, the carrier said more than 5.5 million
smartphones, including iPhones, were activated on
the AT&T network in the first quarter, up more than 60
percent from the year-ago quarter and marking the carrier’s
third-highest quarter ever for smartphone sales.
Sixty-five percent of the carrier’s postpaid-phone sales
were smartphones.

The carrier’s iPhone activations were up over the year-ago quarter despite Verizon’s launch of a CDMA
iPhone in mid-February. Activations hit 3.6 million, up
from the year-ago 2.7 million though down sequentially
from 4.1 million in the fourth quarter and 5.2 million
in the third quarter, which marked the carrier’s bestever
iPhone sales quarter and was the first full quarter
of iPhone 4 sales.