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 follow:
Chinese supplier ZTE launched its first Android smartphone for prepaid carrier MetroPCS, which is filling out its entry-level Android lineup.
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 through Alltel.
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.