NEW YORK –
AT&T and T-Mobile carriers would hotly
deny that their recent 4G product announcements
were meant to distract attention from this week’s
launch of Verizon’s 3G iPhone, but the announcements
probably had that effect.
AT&T announced plans for availability
of its first 4G smartphone, the Android
2.2-based HTC Inspire 4G, priced at
$99.99 with two-year contract through the
carrier’s company-owned stores and web
site. The Inspire will be available Feb. 13
through AT&T-owned stores, the carrier’s
web site, dealers, and select national retailers,
the carrier said.
For its part, T-Mobile announced the
planned expansion of its HSPA+ 4G smartphone
selection to three with the February
launch of a 4G version of Samsung’s Galaxy
S Android-based smartphone. T-Mobile
also began on Feb. 2 to offer its first
tablet, the 4G Dell Streak 7 at $199 with
postpaid mobile-broadband data plan and
$449.99 with prepaid data plan.
In 3G smartphone developments, prepaid
provider Virgin Mobile announced
the addition of its second Android smartphone,
and TWICE learned that HTC’s
next-generation Incredible for Verizon’s 3G network
will add global-phone capability.
At AT&T, the HTC Inspire 4G will be the carrier’s
first Android phone with the 2.2 version of the OS, the
carrier’s first phone with embedded mobile hot spot,
and the phone with the largest screen size in the AT&T
portfolio at 4.3 inches. It’s also the first phone in the
U.S. with HTC’s next-generation Sense user interface
experience and HTC cloud-based services, including
With 4.3-inch screen and 1GHz processor,
the HTC Inspire 4G “is the first
true superphone to launch at under $100,”
said HTC Americas president Jason
The Inspire is the first of more than 20
4G devices that AT&T said at International
CES would be available during the year.
Also at CES, AT&T said it would deliver
two 4G phones in the first quarter, including
the Samsung Infuse 4G, and a total of
five to seven 4G devices in the first half.
The HTC Inspire operates in 3G/4G
mode only in the 850/1900MHz bands, so
it won’t operate in 3G/4G mode in other
AT&T 4G phones using 700MHz 4G
LTE technology, which will deliver faster
data speeds, will be available in the second
half following the mid-2011 of LTE
service in select markets. The LTE rollout
is expected to be largely complete
at the end of 2013.
As previously announced, the carrier also plans to
launch two 4G tablets — including its first LTE tablet —
by mid-summer, with additional LTE tablets planned for
the second half of 2011.
HSPA+ capability has been deployed in almost 100
percent of the AT&T network, and when combined with an
Ethernet or fiber base-station backhaul, it delivers download
speeds up to 6Mbps. AT&T said it expects the backhaul
enhancements to be installed in almost two-thirds of
its network by the end of the year.
For use in AT&T’s HSPA+ network, the Inspire 4G offer
8-megapixel camera/camcorder with 720p video capture,
dual LED flash, autofocus, Adobe Flash, 4GB embedded
memory, included 8GB MicroSD card, Dolby Mobile and
SRS WOW HD sound technologies and an aluminum unibody
design. It comes preloaded with a Blockbuster app
and eReader app.
The next-generation HTC Sense user interface includes
HTC’s FriendStream service, which delivers Facebook,
Twitter and Flickr updates in a consolidated view. The Inspire
4G also lets owners pinpoint the location of a lost
phone on a map and send a command to make the phone
sound an alert – even if the phone is in silent mode –
website. Owners can
also remotely wipe all of the phone’s data with a single
command in addition to forwarding calls and text messages
to a different number.
In 4G developments at T-Mobile, the carrier announced
plans to expand its selection of HSPA+ 4G smartphones
to three in February with the launch of a 4G version of
Samsung’s Galaxy S Android-based smartphone.
Of the three, the Android 2.2-based Galaxy S 4G will be
the fastest, T-Mobile contends, because it will be capable
of theoretical peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps,
while the other two are capable of 14.4Mbps download
The other two phones are the HTC-made MyTouch
4G and HTC-made G2, both of which are also Android
Like the T-Mobile’s 3G version of the Galaxy S, called
the Vibrant, the 4G version features proprietary 4-inch
Super AMOLED touchscreen, Samsung 1GHz processor,
and ability to download movies and TV shows for
rent or purchase via WiFi and cellular. The Galaxy S 4G,
however, adds front-facing camera to allow for Qik video
chat via Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G. It also adds DoubleTwist with
AirSync technology to auto-sync and back up photos, HD
videos and music to and from a home computer via Wi-Fi.
T-Mobile’s other major 4G announcement was the launch
of the 4G Dell Streak 7 tablet with postpaid and prepaid
data plans through the carrier’s store and website. Availability through third-party retailers wasn’t announced.
The carrier used International CES to unveil the
tablet, which it said at the time would be available “in
the coming weeks” followed “in the coming months”
by the LG-made Android 3.0-based T-Mobile G-Slate
with Google. Both operate on the carrier’s 4G HSPA+
network, which is currently capable of running at peak
theoretical download speeds up to 21Mbps.
The Streak 7 runs the Android 2.2 OS and features
7-inch WVGA touchscreen, dual-core Nvidia Tegra 2
processor to deliver 2GHz processing speed, Adobe
Flash 10.1, 5-megapixel rear camera, and 1.3-megapixel
front-facing camera for video chats. Other features
include HD camcorder with 1080p video capture,
16GB internal memory, SD Card slot, Wi-Fi 802.11
b/g/n/, and mobile hot spot capability.
The device operates in 4G HSPA+ mode in the carrier’s
1.7/2.1GHz 3G/4G band, 850/1900MHz bands
in the U.S. for roaming, and the foreign 2.1GHz band.
In 3G developments, Sprint’s Virgin Mobile prepaid
brand expanded its selection of 3G smartphones with
the launch of the LG Optimus V at $149.99. The Android
2.2-based Optimus V joins the $199 Android
2.1-based Samsung Intercept smartphone and the
$199 BlackBerry Curve in Virgin’s 3G smartphone
lineup. LG Optimus V is similar to Sprint’s postpaid LG
Optimus S at $49.