U.S. Cellular Readies Smartphone Expansion


Chicago - U.S Cellular 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, and the company said it would offer two more tablets by year's end to complement Samsung's Galaxy Tab.

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 website shows.

The new Windows 7 phone, which joins a Windows 6.5 phone, is the $199 HTC 7 Pro -- 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.

Features of the 6.6-ounce phone include 3.6-inch touchscreen, built-in FM radio, access to Netflix, 5-megapixel autofocus camera with flash, 1GHz processor, 5-megapixel camera, 800 by 480 capacitive touchscreen display, 720p HD video recording, 16GB of non-removable memory, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, stereo Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, and SRS Wow surround-sound processing.

The phone also lets users view, edit, share and sync Office documents, and it integrates with Windows Live, Xbox Live, Windows Marketplace and Zune services, the latter enabling users to download and stream music.

In outlining additional phones in its device roadmap, the carrier said all seven planned Android phones coming later this year will run the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system, whereas the company's current eight models run the 2.1 and 2.2 versions of the Android OS and come preloaded with such Google applications as Gmail and Google Maps.

The planned 4G phone will also run Android, the company said. The carrier previously announced

plans to launch 4G LTE service

in the 700MHz band in 24 markets to reach 25 percent of its potential customer base in time for the Christmas selling season.

 Other planned products include:

 --three more HTC devices that will launch in the fall, including an HTC tablet with 7-inch screen and two more HTC Android phones;

--a Motorola Android smartphone due in the fall with dual-core 1 GHz processor, 4.3-inch touchscreen and world-phone capabilities;

-- an LG Android smartphone with 1GHz processor, 4-inch touchscreen and "ultra-bright" LCD for viewing in sunlight;

-- new entry-level smartphones from Samsung and Huawei; and

-- two new Samsung messaging devices with slide-out QWERTY keypad and 2.8-inch touchscreens.


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