Basking Ridge, N.J. - Verizon Wireless will expand its 4G LTE handset selection to six on Oct. 13 with the launch of its first 4G phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard through the carrier's direct and indirect channels.
The phone is the Samsung Stratosphere, an Android 2.3 Galaxy S-class smartphone retailing for $149.99 with two-year contract. The price in Verizon outlets is after a $50 mail-in rebate that takes the form of a debit card.
The Stratosphere follows Verizon's Sept. 22 launch of the LTE-equipped Pantech Breakout at $99.99. The Breakout launch marked the carrier's lowest launch price for a 4G phone to date and matched the price of Sprint's first $99 4G smartphone. At launch, the carrier priced its other LTE smartphones at $249 to $299, depending on model.
The Stratosphere features five-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 4-inch Super AMOLED display for viewing in sunlight, and such enterprise-grade features as Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync and Sybase Afaria remote-device management.
Other features include Google Mobile Services, Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird a application processor, front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat, and 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with autofocus, flash, and 480- DVD-quality video capture. The device also stores 720p HD video.
The device also features mobile hotspot capability to share a 4G Internet connection with up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices or share a 3G connection with up to five Wi-Fi devices. Samsung AllShare enables the device to share video and other content with other DLNA-certified devices, and Samsung Media Hub enables downloading of TV shows and movies for rent or purchase. Other features include stereo Bluetooth3.0 and Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n.
With Verizon 4G service, the carrier promises the phone will deliver download speeds of 5 to 12Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5Mbps.