NEW YORK –
4G LTE smartphones rained down from carriers in April, promising to push up smartphone penetration rates beyond the 49.7 percent of all cellular subscribers as determined by a Nielsen consumer survey.
Sprint geared up for the launch of its 4G LTE network in 10 markets before the middle of this year with the announcement that the LG Viper 4G LTE will be available sometime in April through all carrier channels at $99.
The Viper, said to be eco-friendly, is among four LTE-equipped devices that Sprint has announced, including the Galaxy Nexus Android phone, Sierra Wireless Tri-Mode mobile hot spot, and HTC Evo 4G LTE.
The two planned LTE phones feature 4G LTE but not 4G mobile WiMAX. The Sierra Wireless hot spot, on the other hand, combines WiMAX, LTE and 3G CDMA EV-DO Rev. A.
The first six markets to get LTE service in midyear will be Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio. Sprint has said expand 4G LTE service to 250 million people by the end of 2013.
LG Viper features Android 2.3, a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, mobile hotspot capability, 4GB MicroSD card, a MicroSD slot that supports up to 32GB cards, 5-megapixel rear-facing camera with flash, VGA front-facing camera for video chats, Near Field Communication (NFC), compatibility with the Google Wallet NFC application, and a 4-inch touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass.
For its part, AT&T launched the first two Windows phones in the U.S. on April 8. They are the Nokia Lumia 900 at $99.99 and HTC Titan II at $199, both with Windows Phone 7.5 OS, 4G HSPA+ and 4G LTE. Both are also among the world’s first LTE-equipped Windows Phones, the carrier said. They became available in the carrier’s direct and indirect channels on that day.
The HTC Titan II features a 16-megapixel camera, offering the highest resolution of any AT&T camera phone, and is promoted as an alternative to compact point-andshoot cameras. Titan II features include a 4.7-inch super LCD display, 1.5GHz processor, 720p video capture, f/2.6 wide-angle lens, autofocus, dual LED flash, red-eye reduction, image stabilization, a backsideilluminated sensor, and panoramic shot for sweeping landscapes and burst shot for action photography. Video chat over Wi-Fi is enabled via a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera. The phone comes with 1,730 mAh lithium-ion battery.
For exclusive availability on the AT&T network, the step-up Lumia 900 at $99 will be available in separate cyan blue and matte-black versions on April 8 followed by a high-gloss white version on April 22. Like the Lumia 710, the 900 features a 1.4GHz processor, but the display grows from 3.7 inches to 4.3 inches and uses a ClearBlack display to deliver deep blacks, sharper colors, reduced glare and high brightness without eating up battery power, Nokia said. The 900 also adds a front-facing video camera, unavailable on the 710, for video chats, as well as a highpower 1830 mAH battery.
Other key media-related features on the 900 include a rear-facing camera with large Carl Zeiss wide-aperture f2.2 lens with wide 28mm focal length to take high-quality, uncropped images in low-light conditions. The front camera features an f2.4 aperture and 28mm focal length.
From Verizon, the selection of 4G LTE phones priced at less than $100 expanded with the March 29 launch of LG’s Lucid at $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
It was the carrier’s first LG LTE phone to launch at less than $100, a spokesman said, and joined around a dozen LTE phones available for the Verizon network. At $79, the LG Lucid will join several other LTE smartphones currently retailing for $99 or less, including the $99 Samsung Stratosphere, $49 Pantech Breakout (launched at $99) and free Droid Charge.
The LG Lucid features a 4-inch touchscreen, Android 2.3 OS that is upgradable to Android 4.0, 1.2GHz dualcore processor, 1GB of RAM, 5-megapixel rear-facing autofocus camera with flash and FullHD video capture, frontfacing video-chat camera, a Video Producer app to create and edit HD videos right on the phone, Virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype technology, and DLNA certification to share music and video with other DLNA devices.