NEW YORK – The launch of the iPhone 4S might have captured most of the wireless industry’s attention, but major carriers were not shy about expanding their portfolios of Android phones from the low to high ends in time for holiday sales.
New models will be available for prepaid and postpaid service.
AT&T, for example, unveiled five new Android smartphones for fourthquarter availability, enabling it to exceed its early-year commitment to launch a dozen Android devices in calendar 2011.
Verizon Wireless expanded its 4G LTE handset selection to six with the Oct. 13 launch of its first 4G phone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard.
T-Mobile announced two new smartphones targeted to first-time smartphone buyers.
And Virgin Mobile, one of Sprint’s prepaid brands, expanded its selection of Android smartphones to five SKUs with the launch of an LG slider and its first HTC-made smartphone.
Here’s what the carriers announced:
In unveiling five new Android smartphones, AT&T will expand its selection of Android devices, to 19 in the fourth quarter, including two tablets already available.
The new smartphones include the Motorola Atrix 2 and Samsung Captivate Glide, both joining AT&T’s premium Android smartphone lineup and featuring the 21Mbps version of AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ wireless technology. The Pantech Pocket features 4G 14.4Mbps HSPA+ technology. And the quintet’s two 3G phones are the Samsung DoubleTime and ZTE-made AT&T Avail, which will be the second Android phone for AT&T’s GoPhone prepaid service.
At press time, AT&T disclosed the price and availability date only of the Atrix 2, which was to become available in direct and indirect channels Oct. 16 at $99.99 without rebate.
The Atrix 2, like the original Atrix launched earlier this year at $199, features dual-core 1GHz processor, 4G HSPA+, and 2.1GHz-band HSPA+ operation in foreign markets, but the new model adds 1080p video capture versus 720p, slightly larger qHD screen at 4.3 inches vs. 4 inches, and Android 2.3 OS compared to the 2.2 OS featured in the original Atrix during its launch.
Atrix 2 also features include enterprise-ready features and, like the original Atrix, connects to an optional Lap Dock 100, which takes the shape of a laptop PC.
For its part, the Samsung Captivate Glide features a thin slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, 1GHz dual-core processor, Android 2.3, 4-inch WVGA Super AMOLED screen, 8-megapixel flash camera with 1080p video capture, front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, 2.1GHzband HSPA+ operation in foreign markets and enterprise features.
Another Samsung phone, the DoubleTime, features 3G, a flip-open QWERTY keyboard and dual 3.2-inch touchscreen. Other features include Android 2.2 OS and 600MHz Qualcomm processor.
The 4G Pantech Pocket is a slim Android 2.3 device focused on social entertainment and messaging. It features a 4-inch SVGA touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera with HD video capture, Wi- Fi and international 2.1GHz-band operation.
ZTE’s Avail will feature a 3.5-inch touchscreen, 5-megapixel camera, Android 2.3, HSPA+ operation in the foreign 2.1GHz band and Wi-Fi.
For first-time smartphone users, the carrier plans to add the LG-made MyTouch and MyTouchQ to its exclusive MyTouch series in time for the holidays. Prices were not announced at press time. Both have 4G HSPA+ operation.
MyTouch features a 3.8-inch touchscreen with virtual keyboard, while the MyTouch Q features a 3.5-inch touchscreen and slide-out QWERTY keyboard. Both have Android 2.3 OS, 1GHz Qualcomm processor and a 5-megapixel camera with 720p video capture.
The carrier’s first 4G phone with slide-out QWERTY keyboard is the Samsung Stratosphere, an Android 2.3 Galaxy S-class smartphone at $149. The Stratosphere offers a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, 4-inch Super AMOLED display and enterprise-grade features.
A new LG phone and the prepaid brand’s first HTC-made smartphone use the Android 2.3OS and will retail for $199.