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Tag Archive | "verizon"

Pantech Breakout Gallery and Initial Impressions

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The Pantech Breakout is being billed by Verizon as a good choice for those looking to make their first step up from a dumbphone to a smartphone. Thanks to an impressive build-quality, built-in 4G LTE, and a tempting $99 on-contract price tag, it’s hard to argue.

When I got the Pantech Breakout out of the its box, I was immediately impressed with the build-quality. This is my first experience with a Pantech handset, and I’ll admit that I wasn’t expecting this level of hardware detail from a $99 phone. The phone is completely plastic, save the screen, but they’ve textured the plastic in a number of ways that makes it feel way more solid than if it were nothing but smooth glossy plastic, like most of Samsung Galaxy S phones. The careful texturing even makes the phone feel more rugged than it probably is. I must say that I prefer some attention to detail on the case of the Pantech Breakout over a phone like the Samsung Nexus S [review], which was actually rather boring on the outside thanks to it’s smooth glossy plastic.

The 4G LTE speeds on the Pantech Breakout are as high performing as ever. This is the same 4G LTE connection that I was able to play multiplayer Halo Reach on without much issue (something I never would be able to do on a 3G network).

The only early issue I have wit the Pantech Breakout is the keyboard which has some responsiveness issues. By default, the phone uses Swype for input, but I’m not the biggest Swype fan so I tend to go with the default Android keyboard. Unfortunately the default keyboard seems to hang from time to time. Even though it will eventually get all of the input, it’s jarring to be tapping away when suddenly the haptic feedback stops for a few seconds, only to catch up after a brief pause. This may be fixable and I’m still looking into it. Otherwise, the device has been rather impressive given the pricetag.

With that said, I’ve got a Pantech Breakout gallery for you, and we’ll have more coverage soon:

Motorola Droid Bionic Finally Arriving on September 8th… What “Jaw Dropping” Features Have Been Added?

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droid bionicNot long ago, some internal information had apparently been leaked showing that the Droid Bionic, among other devices, would be launched on September 8th. The official Droid Bionic twitter account has now confirmed that date.

The story of the Droid Bionic is a rather interesting one. The phone was announced ages ago (in tech-world time, anyway) back at CES in January. It was also announced next to the Motorola Atrix (a similarly speced phone, designed for AT&T). The powerful 4G LTE Bionic was presumed to be released alongside the Atrix, but then was oddly removed from Verizon and Motorola’s sites. It seemed that the Droid Bionic would be one of the first 4G LTE devices available on Verizon, but it was beaten to the market by the HTC Thunderbolt, Samsung Charge, and the LG Revolution.

Later, Verizon and Motorola indicated that the Bionic would be released this summer, and it appears they meant the tail end of summer!

The real question is, why the delay? I’m betting it has a lot more to do with some production issues and corporate politics than the excuse given on the Droid Bionic twitter account: “The Droid Bionic has been taken off from Motorola’s website. As you know we have already announced that we are improving the Bionic”, and, “The NEW Motorola Droid Bionic is packed with jaw dropping features that will make your wait well worth it.”

Though the launch date has been confirmed, there’s still no useful information about the Droid Bionic or the “NEW” Droid Bionic from Motorola or Verizon.

One thing that the Droid Bionic was originally announced with, that I hope to see changed, is the inclusion of Android 2.2. The Motorola Atrix was also announced and launched with Android 2.2, but was officially updated to the latest Android 2.3 build in July. Hopefully we’ll see the Droid Bionic make it out the door with the latest version of Android on board, as these update debacles are becoming ever tiring.

As far as I’m aware, the Droid Bionic is going to be packing the same specs that were announced at CES. I’ll be happily surprised if they managed to add anything “jaw dropping”, but I’m not holding my breath.

Thanks to GBM for pointing this out!

Verizon’s Phone Leak, Visualized. Galaxy Tab 4G Coming in November (but which one?), Among Other LTE Devices

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IGN managed to get a hold of what their source claims is an internal document listing launch dates for 14 upcoming devices. Swing by IGN to see the original document, but also hang here to see that I’ve taken the information and plotted it on a handy timeline for you (I am a visual person, after all). Be sure to click to bigify:

verizon phone leak

Among the devices listed are the Motorola Droid Bionic (I accidentally didn’t note it as being 4G), which has seen a number of delays, and the Motorola Xoom 4G upgrade, both of which we had already heard were coming in September, so corroboration makes this leak seem quite legit.

According to the leak, Verizon is set to add five additional 4G LTE devices to their shelves that weren’t part of their initial 4G lineup. Those devices include:

  • Samsung Stratosphere
  • Blackberry Curve 9370
  • HTC Vigor
  • LG Revolution 2
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4G

The Droid Bionic and Xoom were part of Verizon’s early 4G lineup, so we already knew they were coming down the line. The ones listed above, however, are mostly new.

I say mostly because we’ve been eyeing the Galaxy Tab 4G which, at first, was announced as a 4G version of the original Galaxy Tab 7, but it may end up being the Galaxy Tab 8.9, instead. Verizon had it listed as the “P8” on the leaked chart, but it is unclear exactly what that means. Whichever form it comes in, the leak tells us that it’ll be happening sometime in November.

The HTC Vigor is specifically designated as being a replacement for the HTC Thunderbolt which was Verizon’s very first 4G device. Similarly, the Revolution 2 is going to replace the… wait for it… Revolution (bet you didn’t see that one coming!), which I’m hoping will provide better battery life, faster charging, and better standby than the original.

The Blackberry PlayBook is also listed on the leaked list, but its launch date is listed as “TBD”.

What’s obviously missing here is any information regarding the iPhone 5 or iPad 3, but any information regarding those devices is unlikely to be known outside of Apple until they announce it publicly. Still, that doesn’t stop us from speculating.

If all of this turns out to be true, Verizon has a powerful pre-holiday lineup; I can only hope that the other major carriers have such an exciting group of devices ready to go!

via: The Droid Guy

source: IGN Gear

Xoom Won’t See 4G Upgrade Until September, Motorola Ought to Apologize

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Motorola is definitely going to get a bad rap for this one. Remember that Xoom that Motorola claimed would be the first 4G LTE tablet, once sent in for an after-sale upgrade? Yeah well the Xoom has been out for months now with no word on when that upgrade would become available. Today Samsung has officially beaten Motorola to offering the first tablet with 4G LTE, much to the chagrin of Xoom owners.

As we mentioned just the other day, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 is now officially available, making it the first 4G tablet, available with Verizon’s speedy LTE connectivity, to actually ship, you know, with a 4G radio installed.

The Xoom, which launched back in February, was purportedly going to be upgradable to 4G at some point in the near future. While the device is indeed upgradable, it seems that Verizon/Motorola’s definition of ‘near future’ isn’t quite aligned with the definition the people who bought the device.

After months with no official information about when the upgrade would actually happen, Motorola is now (right as the Galaxy Tab 10.1 is launched) sending emails to customers letting them know that the upgrade process will begin in September – nearly 7 months after the Xoom was made available.

The upgrade process, which requires that customers actually ship their devices in, will take 6 business days to complete, according to Verizon.

I really think Motorola should offer an apology to those who had to wait so long for the upgrade without and communication from Motorola as to when the upgrade would become available. Perhaps they could even offer a little something to owners of the Xoom, like credit to the Android Marketplace to buy an app or movie.

Source: Droid Life

Verizon Announces Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 4G Pricing and Availability; Galaxy Tab 7” 4G Still Nowhere in Sight

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galaxy tab 10.1Today Verizon has announced that the 4G LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1” will be available in two colors starting on July 28th, with prices beginning at $529. It’s been nearly 7 months since Samsung and Verizon announced a 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7” back at CES and yet information regarding its availability have yet to materialize.

The 8.6mm thick Galaxy Tab 10.1 will be available for purchase in stores and online directly from Verizon. There are two colors to choose from – metallic grey or glossy white. Two memory options are available: 16GB and 32GB for $529 and $629 respectively, which undercuts the 3G iPad 2 by $100 for both capacities. Verizon says that the 4G connection built into the Galaxy Tab 10.1 will provide download speeds of 5-12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2-5 Mbps and the device will fall back to a 3G CDMA connection when not in range of 4G.

You can find full specifications, links, photos, and more for the Galaxy Tab 10.1 at the tracking page in our device database.

That’s fine and dandy, but the question remains: where the heck is the 4G Galaxy Tab 7?!

Back in January, Verizon and Samsung announced the 4G Galaxy Tab 7 on stage in front of the press at CES. We wrote with excitement about the 4G version of the device which would also include a faster CPU and a better camera. Seven months later, the device still hasn’t received an official launch date or pricing.

Perhaps Samsung decided to drop the 4G Galaxy Tab 7 in favor of the Galaxy Tab 8.9? Or maybe they’re still working on updating the famed device with a dual-core CPU instead of just bumping the clock speed?

I’ve reached out to both Samsung and Verizon and they won’t share any info not already made available in the press release that went out 7 months ago. I just hope no one has been waiting this long to buy a 4G Galaxy Tab 7”… their devotion may leave them disappointed.

LG Revolution Full Review

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DSC_5161Verizon is well on the way launching all 6 of the initial 4G devices on their roadmap. First was the HTC Thunderbolt, then the Samsung Droid Charge, and now LG’s Revolution. I was expecting the LG Revolution to represent a lesser performing and lower cost entry into the 4G-equipped phone sector though it’s actually priced up there with the others, but also performing better than I had expected.

Hardware Tour:

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Specs:

  • Snapdragon CPU @ 1GHz
  • 368MB of RAM
  • 4.3” capacitive touchscreen @ 800×480
  • Android 2.2.2 with Bing search and custom skinning
  • 16GB memory stick included
  • 4G LTE data connectivity
  • 5MP rear-facing camera with flash (720p HD recording)
  • 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 3.0
  • 6.06 oz. (5.03”x2.64”x0.52”)

When Will Apple Jump on the 4G Bandwagon?

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4gWe’re not into Apple rumors here at Carrypad, but what we are into is informed speculation. Join us for some healthy analysis about when and how Apple will make the move to 4G.

Based on Apple’s Q3 sales figures that were just released today, it’s clear that Apple is doing extremely well, even without a single 4G product in its stables.

This is interesting because 4G is one of the only areas where the iPhone and iPad are behind, rather than being ahead of, or at least on-par with, the competition.

For all intents and purposes, let’s consider HSPA+, LTE, and WiMax all ‘4G’ networks, as they’re all capable of delivering speeds that are well beyond earlier 3G connections.

The Competition

Verizon has now launched three 4G (LTE) smartphones, and is poised to launch at least one more (the Droid Bionic) toward the end of this summer. They also have the 4G enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, as well as the Motorola Xoom which is supposedly going to be the recipient of a 4G hardware upgrade at some point. Additionally, they’ve got a 4G MiFi wireless hotspot and 4G USB modem. [See this article for a roadmap of Verizon’s upcoming 4G smartphones and devices].

AT&T has three 4G (HSPA+) smartphones currently launched, along with a 4G USB modem.

Sprint has fourteen 4G (WiMax) devices available. They’ve got smartphones, tablets, laptops, mobile hotspots, and USB modems. Though WiMax technically has the capability to support 4G speeds, the research I’ve done has indicated that Sprint’s WiMax is sorely lacking in speed, but I’m still putting it on the list because the tech that supports high speeds is already in place in these devices.

T-Mobile has claims to have twelve 4G (HSPA+) devices. They have 7 smartphones, 2 tablets, 2 USB modems, and a mobile hotspot.

What Form Will Apple 4G Come In?

Because Apple currently makes iPhone 4 and iPad 2 models for both AT&T Verizon, it holds that we’ll continue to see those two carriers supported for upcoming tablets and smartphones from Apple.

For the short term, AT&T is relying on HSPA+ to provide 4G speeds to its line of HSPA+ equipped phones; the company often sticks ‘4G’ to the end of the phone’s name to indicate the additional speed (even if some don’t consider HSPA+ to be ‘4G’ from a technical standpoint). In the long term, AT&T is planning on moving in the LTE direction starting this year.

Verizon jumped directly to 4G in the form of LTE, and they seem to have the best 4G speeds so far.

With the two currently supported carriers either already using LTE or eventually moving to LTE, my best guess is that Apple’s first 4G devices will be LTE compatible rather than WiMax or HSPA+, though as you’ll see below, we might end up with a combination of these.

Why Doesn’t Apple Already Have 4G When Others Do?

The technology for Apple to launch their devices with 4G exists, but I believe two factors have held Apple back so far.

Coverage
It doesn’t make sense for Apple to fork over additional money for 4G chipsets if the coverage isn’t already there. If Apple launched a 4G (LTE) iPhone 4 when it announced the Verizon iPhone back in January, it wouldn’t have had a big demographic to sell to because a relatively small number of areas where covered at the time. Passing on the price of 4G hardware to all customers, when only a small portion are actually in 4G covered areas, wouldn’t be good for Apple’s bottom line. It made more sense for them to keep the price attractive until 4G LTE sees widespread coverage.

Battery Life
Battery life on existing 4G LTE devices is still much shorter than 3G devices. I’ve been using the HTC Thunderbolt and LG Revolution and both 4G equipped devices from Verizon have had a hard time providing me with usable all day battery life. Battery life is a major concern for Apple, and I know that they aren’t willing to release a device without all day battery life under typical use.

With every release of the iPhone, Apple has increased performance and battery life. Releasing a 4G iPhone before the technology can come down to a reasonable power consumption level wouldn’t be acceptable for Apple.

When Will it Happen?

The real question is not if, but when. Apple has been wildly successful with the iPhone and iPad, even though the market is already brimming with 4G devices, but that won’t last forever.

Ideally, Apple would launch a 4G iPhone and 4G iPad when the two above factors, coverage and battery life, align. Unfortunately, Apple is now being pressured by all of the other 4G devices on the market.

Verizon’s 4G LTE forecast indicates that they hope to have their entire 3G network area covered with 4G LTE coverage by 2013.

AT&T is launching its first 4G LTE coverage areas this year, but the rollout is going to take time, and they’ll most likely be lagging behind Verizon in 4G LTE coverage in 2013.

The iPhone 5 is expected to be released in 2011, and the iPad 3 likely won’t come until 2012. In terms of coverage, the time is not ideal for Apple to launch a 4G iPhone 5 or 4G iPad 3.

I think that Apple would rather wait for two more product generations before releasing 4G devices (so that power consumption can come down and coverage can increase), which would mean 4G LTE compatibility with the iPhone 6 and iPad 4, but I doubt that they can wait that long.

An interim HSPA+ iPhone 5 might be more practical for Apple, but it would leave Verizon users in the rain as Verizon has no HSPA+ infrastructure.

A compromise could be for Apple to release a 4G (LTE) iPhone 5 on Verizon and a 4G (HSPA+) iPhone 5 on AT&T. I would expect that release in 2011, but the iPad 3 will likely not be released until 2012. At that time, LTE network coverage should be more favorable for AT&T, and Apple may launch a 4G (LTE) iPad 3 for both networks, then eventually bring LTE to their AT&T iPhone offering with the release of the iPhone 6 in 2012. This is a bit confusing in text, so I’ve put together a timeline (apologies if the large timeline runs off the screen on mobile browsers!):

apple 4g timeline

Some might see the release of a separate HSPA+ and LTE iPhone 5 and iPad 3 as unlikely, but it should be considered as Apple currently has two separate versions of the iPhone 4 and iPad 2, one for AT&T’s HSPA 3G network, and one for Verizon’s EVDO 3G network.

Though the LTE coverage is not quite optimal for the upcoming iPhone 5, Apple can’t ignore 4G as it’s starting to be expected from the latest phones (and every major US carrier is pushing the buzz word like their life depends on it). I can’t see Apple releasing the iPhone 5 without 4G, whether that be HSPA+ or LTE.

I would certainly reconsider purchasing the next iPhone if they release it without some form of 4G. How about our readers – does 4G availability influence your smartphone purchasing decisions?

HTC Thunderbolt Testing Notes and Camera Quick-test

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IMG_5414If you’ll recall, the HTC Thunderbolt was released as Verizon’s first phone compatible with their 4G LTE network, which provided impressive speeds which are even capable of functioning as a high-end gaming connection for consoles. Beyond the impressive 4G speeds, the phone has HTC’s hallmark build-quality, a good camera, and a great kickstand to boot.

The HTC Sense overlay that takes place of the default Android interface is liked by some, but hated by others. While I don’t hate Sense, I will say that I lean more toward the latter group. Not that I don’t see the value in HTC Sense, they’ve actually build an impressive number of widgets and mini-applications for users to choose from, but I tend to prefer multi-platform solutions (and official ones at that), so that I don’t have to wait for a company like HTC to get around to updating their software to take advantage of updates to Twitter, Facebook, etc. I spoke a bit more about HTC Sense in my HTC Thunderbolt overview video.

Because the Thunderbolt has been on the market for some time, I’m going to give you a quick rundown of notes that I’ve taken during testing, rather than a full fledged review. If you’re looking for a formal review, the folks over at Laptop Magazine have a great one waiting for you.

Notes

  • Haptic feedback motor can’t keep up – if you type too quickly, the motor won’t be able to vibrate the phone as quickly as you type, this makes it feel as though the phone is dropping key presses when it’s really not.
  • Custom skinning (HTC Sense) is visually clunky, especially in the People (contacts) application
  • Twitter for HTC Sense is a nightmare – the widget for the homescreen is called ‘Twitter for HTC Sense’ but the corresponding app is called ‘Peep’ in the application screen; the DM section of which inexplicably doesn’t tell you who sent you the DM, or even the time that it was sent (looks to be a bug). The widget that interacts with Peep shows, at most, three tweets, and has no indication of what tweets have arrived since the last time you checked. You can’t directly click on anything within the tweets of the widget, such as a username or link, instead you have to click the tweet in the widget which launches Peep, then you can go ahead and click on the link or the username.
  • The ‘dismiss keyboard’ button is where the number pad toggle or shift key usually is on other handsets – annoying!
  • The lock button on the Thunderbolt is too small and too flush with the top of the phone. It’s a little bit hard to find with the finger and the feedback should be better.
  • HTC has included a cursor handle to make it easier to move the cursor around in text which is tremendously frustrating to do without such a handle. Thanks to HTC for adding this as it doesn’t get officially implemented into Android until 2.3 (Thunderbolt is running 2.2). It’s oddly inconsistent though; you can tap in the text field to evoke the handle, but if you hold your finger, a small magnifier will pop up and move with you as you move the cursor. It almost seems like they tasked two people to come up with a solution for cursor selection then accidentally implemented both.
  • When looking from a high angle, there is backlight leakage at the bottom of the LCD screen, and at two small points under the capacitive buttons.

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  • SMS doesn’t vibrate the phone by default which seems a bit silly (dig through the settings and you can fix this)
  • Thanks to HTC Sense, many of the default icons have been changed visually for no reason that I can think of, other than to be different, which isn’t a good thing if you are trying to cater to users who are already familiar with Android (perhaps they are going for people already familiar with Sense?).
  • I may rag on HTC Sense a good deal, but if you like to customize your phone, it has a number of great themes and options to do so.
  • Between the keyboard and the predictive input pop-up, little room is left for what you’re actually looking at on the screen.
  • The space bar on the landscape keyboard is off-center which causes me to hit the period key frequently when I meant to hit the space bar.
  • The Thunderbolt’s kickstand is top-notch and springs up and down with satisfaction. As a bonus, it also holds the phone up in portrait mode which is great for video calling. Sadly, HTC missed a golden opportunity with the stand. They should have placed the micro-USB port on the bottom of the device so that it could sit in landscape with the stand and be an excellent bedside alarm clock/info center while charging. Unfortunately they placed the micro-USB connector on the ‘bottom’ of the phone when the stand holds it in landscape, which blocks the micro-USB port.

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  • HTC added four arrow keys to the already clunky keyboard which take up lots of space and I’ve never desired to use them.
  • You can calibrate the keyboard for a better typing experience, which is something that I haven’t seen any other phone manufacturer allow you to do (it’s unclear whether or not this calibration affects keyboard input only, or all touch input {I would hope the latter}). After calibration, typing on the Thunderbolt’s keyboard is a better experience than most Android phones. Unfortunately this advantage is counteracted by the fact that the Thunderbolt’s screen is overly sensitive. It’s quite easy to press a key by holding your finder near the screen without actually touching it (and issue I’ve found on other devices as well). This means that accidental key presses can (and likely will) occur during fast typing.
  • At 4.3” the screen is too large in my opinion, especially when asked to reach all the way up to the status bar for notifications, then all the way down to the capacitive buttons.

Camera

In my review of the Nexus S, I noted the following about the device’s camera:

What you see is not what you get. It’s very hard to visualize exactly how your photo will turn out after you press the capture button. Pictures are often suddenly brightened after you hit the capture button. Shooting good photos with the phone would be much easier if the viewfinder gave a more clear idea of what will actually be captured once you pull the trigger.

I’m very happy to report that the Thunderbolt is the opposite of the Nexus S. When you hit the camera button, you can be assured that what you see on the phone’s screen is exactly what you’re going to capture. This makes it much easier to snap good photos. Noisy low-light photos and the lack of an HDR mode makes the Thunderbolt’s 8MP camera still inferior to the iPhone 4’s 5MP camera.

The Thunderbolt is capable of capturing great photos given the right conditions (as with many smartphone cameras). Here’s a few unedited sample shots I took with the phone (click to enlarge):

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The colors could pop a bit more on some of these photos, but it does work in daylight as a great point-and-click camera.

LG Revolution Gallery

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DSC_5101The LG Revolution, Verizon’s third 4G phone, has been unboxed, and now we’ve got a full gallery ready for your perusal. Get a sneak peek at the shots you’ll find in our eventual full review below:

See the full LG Revolution gallery here

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LG Revolution Unboxing and Flash Test (it handles 720p!) [video]

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We’ve got the LG Revolution on hand and have prepared an unboxing video for you which also features a flash test. I’m happy to report (and somewhat impressed) that the LG Revolution has so far handled YouTube 720p flash video quite well. This surprised me because the Revolution is using a 1GHz Snapdragon CPU as opposed to Nvidia’s Tegra. Have a look below:



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