Multiple Firsts Greet Cellphone Market


NEW YORK – Cellular retailers have a lot of firsts to promote going into the dads and grads selling season.

T-Mobile, for example, announced mid-June availability of its first smartphone with dual-core 1.2GHz processor, the superphone-class Android-based HTC Sensation 4G; and U.S. Cellular launched its first Android-powered global smartphone, the HTC Merge.

For its part, Pantech just launched its first U.S.-market Android smartphone, available on the AT&T network and targeted to first-time smartphone users.

For consumers who don’t plan to step up to entry-level smartphones, Verizon adopted Qualcomm’s Brew MP platform for basic cellphones. Brew MP runs more robust downloadable apps compared to the apps previously available for Verizon’s basic cellphones.

Verizon Wireless also launched its third 4G model, the Android-based LG Revolution.

Here’s what the companies unveiled:


Known mostly for feature phones and messaging phones, the company launched the Android 2.2-based Pantech Crossover, priced at $69.99. It features slide-from-the-side keyboard, 3.1- inch touchscreen, 600MHz processor, 3-megapixel digital camera/camcorder with fixed-focus lens, 4x camera zoom, preinstalled 2GB microSD card, five customizable home screens, voice recognition, accelerometer, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, and embedded mobile Wi-Fi hot spot.

The device, which became available June 5, is a triband- HSPA handset that operates in 3G HSPA mode in AT&T’s 850/1900MHz bands and in foreign 2.1GHz bands.

The phone will be among the phones promoted this summer on the Dew Tour, a national sports tour. Pantech is the tour’s official handset sponsor.


Mid-June availability is planned for a superphone-class smartphone with more processing power than the carrier’s current smartphones.

The HTC Sensation 4G, available exclusively on T-Mobile’s network at $199, will be the carrier’s first phone with a dual-core 1.2GHz processor and first with 4.3-inch screen. It features HSPA+ 4G technology with theoretical peak download speeds of 14.4Mbps.

The touchscreen-only device, which runs on the latest Android OS version (Gingerbread 2.3), is expected to be available as early as June 12 in select Walmart stores and by June 15 in T-Mobile’s direct channels and select national retailers and dealers.

The device features 4.3-inch 950x540 qHD display, aluminum unibody construction, and a variety of entertainment features, including access to the HTC Watch service to download movies and TV shows for purchase or rental. Other entertainment services include the brand new HTC Listen service, which enables over-the-air music downloads, and the T-Mobile TV service for streaming of live TV programs an on-demand TV.

Other features include DLNA compatibility, Qik video chats over cellular and Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n, and 8-megapixel rear-facing camera/camcorder with 1080p video capture, and VGA frontfacing camera.

U.S. Cellular:

The Chicagobased carrier expanded its Android smartphone portfolio to seven models with the launch of two models, including the carrier’s first Android-powered global smartphone, the HTC Merge.

The second phone is the LG Genesis, a clamshell phone with two touchscreens. It’s available on an exclusive basis to the carrier.

Both smartphones are priced at $149, and both feature Android 2.2 OS, Wi-Fi hot spot capability, and 8GB memory cards. The Merge is available, and the Genesis becomes available to consumers on June 9.

The HTC Merge is HTC’s first Android-based CDMA world phone. It operates in U.S. 850/1900MHz 3G CDMA Rev. A networks, in overseas 2.1GHz 3G HSPA networks, and in U.S. and overseas GSM/ EDGE networks.

The Merge features slide-from-the-side QWERTY keyboard, 3.8-inch capacitive touchscreen, and 800MHz Qualcomm processor.

The LG Genesis is a clamshell phone with two touch screens. An exterior 3.5-inch touch screen features virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype text-input technology. When the phone is folded open along its hinged side, an internal 3.2-inch touch screen appears along with a wide, hard QWERTY keyboard for faster typing.

Verizon Wireless:

To make basic cell phones more attractive to consumers, the carrier adopted Qualcomm’s Brew MP platform, which runs more robust downloadable apps compared to the apps previously available for cellphones that lack a smartphone OS.

Brew MP, which stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless Mobile Platform, runs apps on lower end chipsets with lower speeds and lower memory capacities while supporting Java and Adobe Flash. It offers more smartphone-like apps compared to the Brew app platform now used by Verizon.

AT&T launched its first Brew MP phones this year following a 2010 announcement that it planned to adopt the Brew MP platform.


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