NEW YORK —
New 3G and 4G mobile phones
are popping up for spring sales, with T-Mobile
expanding its selection of 4G HSPA+42Mbps
handsets, Virgin Mobile launching its lowestprice
prepaid Android handset to date, and MetroPCS
filling out its entry-level Android lineup.
In another development, Sony introduced the
first smartphone whose touchscreen doesn’t
have to be touched to navigate a web page. It’s
a 4G HSPA+ model called the Sola.
Details on these developments
supplier ZTE launched
its first Android smartphone
for prepaid carrier
MetroPCS, which is
filling out its entry-level
ZTE launched its first
cellphone in the U.S.
through MetroPCS in
2008 and now sells
phones to carriers AT&T,
Boost Mobile, Cricket,
T-Mobile and Verizon
Wireless. ZTE also
sells a mobile hot spot
The new smartphone
for the MetroPCS network
is the ZTE Score M, an entry-level 3G
model priced for a limited time at $49 after
mail-in $30 rebate. The company has not set a
time for raising the price to $79. The 4.8-ounce
device features Android 2.3 OS, 600MHz processor,
3.5-inch HVGA TFT display, 3.2-megapixel
camera, Bluetooth 2.1, Wi-Fi 802.11b/g,
4GB internal memory, 32GB MicroSD slot,
1,500mAh battery and 3G CDMA EV-DO Rev.
A 3G technology operating in the 850MHz,
1900MHz bands and AWS bands.
The device’s price is targeted to consumers
who want to trial or upgrade to a smartphone.
Other Android phones in the carrier’s selection
include two Huawei models at $19 and
$29, a Samsung model with 800MHz processor at $49,
a 600MHz HTC model at $89, and LG’s Esteem at $319
with 4G LTE, 1GHz processor and 4.3-inch screen.
The company announced the development of
a 4G HSPA+ Android smartphone whose touchscreen
doesn’t have to be touched to navigate a web page.
The Xperia Sola phone will be available globally in the
second quarter, but the company didn’t say when or if it
would be launched in the U.S.
The phone uses what Sony calls floating touch technology,
enabling users to hover a finger up to 0.78 inches above
the screen to scroll a web page up and down or side to
side as well as highlight embedded links. To activate a link,
however, users must still touch the screen.
The no-touch technology, exclusive to Sony, also works
with websites designed to respond to “hover” events in
which a PC’s mouse is used to move a pointer across a
web page, the company said. Live wallpapers provided by
Sony will also respond to a hovering finger.
In the future, Sony promised to apply the technology to
other phone functions and applications, and the company
noted that future Android apps could be designed to respond
to a floating touch.
The phone will ship with two NFC smart tags that users
can program with up to 10 commands to automatically
set phone settings for difference uses. One tag is preprogrammed
for living-room use to turn on Wi-Fi and launch
Google news and weather apps.
The phones operates in 850/1900MHz 14.4Mbps
HSPA+ networks in the U.S. and in foreign HSPA+
networks. Features include 1GHz dual-core processor,
512MB RAM, 3.7-inch 854 by 480 display, Android 2.3
OS with a 4.0 upgrade planned for the summer, DLNA
certification, access to Sony’s music and movie-streaming
services, 8GB internal storage, 32GB MicroSD slot
and 5-megapixel camera with flash.
The carrier announced broad March 21
availability of its latest smartphone to operate on its fastest
HSPA+42 network, delivering theoretical peak download
speeds of 42Mbps and, on smartphones, average
8Mbps throughputs with 20Mbps peaks.
With the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G, the
carrier will be offering three smartphones with HSPA+42
technology. They include the HTC Amaze 4G and Samsung
Galaxy SII. A fourth HSPA+42 phone, the HTC One
S, is due in the spring.
The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G became available
March 21 at $149 after $50 mail-in rebate card in select
T-Mobile stores. Distribution will be expanded nationwide
to all carrier stores and T-Mobile’s website on March 28.
The touchscreen phone features Android 2.3 OS, 1.5
GHz dual-core CPU, 3.97-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen,
720p HD video capture and 5-megapixel camera
with 4x digital zoom.
Alcatel One Touch, a part of Chinese
company TCL Communications, increased its exposure in
the U.S. with the launch by Virgin Mobile of the $99 Androidbased
Venture, Virgin’s lowest-priced Android to date.
Alcatel One Touch entered the U.S. market in 2007 by
selling to regional carriers and, in October 2011, sold a
phone to a national carrier for the first time. That model
was the Sparq for the T-Mobile network.
The launch of Alcatel’s Venture through Virgin, a Sprint
prepaid brand, is part of an Alcatel plan to expand the
Alcatel product portfolio here in 2012.
For Virgin, the launch of the Venture at $99 brings an
Android smartphone to a new opening price, joining the
$279 Triumph, $129 LG Optimus V and a $179 HTC
model, Virgin said.
The new phone phone features Android 2.3 OS, 2.8-
inch touchscreen QWERTY keyboard, 2-megapixel camera
with LED flash and video capture, Bluetooth 3.0,
included 2GB MicroSD card and a memory-card slot supporting
32GB MicroSD cards.