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Sprint Expands LTE Smartphone Selection

The Photon Q is Motorola’s first LTE phone for Sprint, Sprint’s first LTE phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and Sprint’s first 4G phone with widespread international roaming capability. The latter capability is made possible by the inclusion of GSM voice, GPRS/EDGE data, and W-CDMA voice and data technologies in foreign GSM/W-CDMA bands.

The Android 4.0 phone is also the first U.S.-market 3G-CDMA/4G phone with such international roaming capabilities. Verizon Wireless’ $149 HTC-made Droid Incredible 4G LTE smartphone, in contrast, is global-ready, enabling it to get a planned software upgrade to expand the number of countries in which it can be used. The software download will activate GSM/EDGE and W-CDMA in the 850/900/1,800/1,900 MHz bands to provide voice and 3G HSPA+ data service in more than 220 countries.

 “Motorola Photon Q will be the first 4G LTE device with a QWERTY keyboard and worldphone capabilities to join the Sprint lineup,” said David Owens, Sprint’s product development VP.

The Photon replaces a previous-generation Android-based Photon, launched last year without LTE, widespread international roaming, or Android 4.0 but with a QWERTY keyboard.

The new model’s features include 1.5 GHz dual-core processor; 4.3-inch ColorBoost display; rear-facing 8-megapixel camera with 1080p video capture and playback; automatic photo uploading to Google+ as backup; front-facing HD camera for Google+ Hangout video chats or conference calls; and mirror mode to view images, files and movies on a TV when connected via HDMI cable.

The device also offers Sprint ID service to personalize an Android smartphone with apps, widgets, ringtones and the like with a single download. With nearfield communications (NFC), the phone shares links, apps, YouTube clips and more via Android Beam technology. The phone also comes with Smartactions, a free Motorola app that helps extend battery life automates routine, everyday tasks.

The device is business-ready, offering corporate security features such as remote wipe, pin lock and data encryption. It is one of several devices available with Sprint Professional Grade designation, which indicates enhanced security, device management and Exchange Active Sync capabilities for enterprises, the carrier said.

On July 15, Sprint launched 4G LTE in 15 cities, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Atlanta, Kansas City and Waco, Texas. Sprint expects to bring 4G LTE to Baltimore, Md.; Gainesville, Ga.; and Manhattan/Junction City, Kansas, before Labor Day.