Tag Archive | "htc"

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 inch 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 inch.

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

Review Roundup: Sprint Motorola Photon

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The Motorola Atrix has been AT&T’s flagship device for several months. No other carrier has had a similar handset from Motorola to-date, until now. With the debut of the Photon 4G on the Now Network, Sprint has a hardware set that might be able to entice more customers in the market for a super-smartphone featuring the latest version of Google’s mobile OS for smartphones. Reviews have started popping up around the web, so we thought it was a good time to give you a consolidated view of how the media is receiving the device. Common themes from the usual suspects are discussed below for your perusing pleasure.

Hardware impressions are pretty good all-around. The Photon seems to be the start of a wave where the manufacturers are starting to figure out how to deliver 4+ inch displays and dual-core processors in packages that are a little less chunky. I love my own HTC Evo 3D, but it is certainly not svelte. While that does not particularly bug me (you guys know I will take ruggedness over litheness any day), it does bother a lot of the mainstream, so this is a good direction for Motorola to move in. The edges have a diamond-cut to differentiate the device from HTC’s handsets. Given that HTC tied RIM for spot number two in the most recent Nielsen sales charts, it is either a really good idea to look different from their kit… or really bad. Regardless, most reviewers give Motorola a nod for trying to not look cookie cutter in this age of all-slab smartphones, even if it is only just a little.

Other hardware touches of note include a kickstand, a soft-touch back panel, and an 8-megapixel camera. If you want to get the remainder of the very detailed hardware overview, we would recommend reading Phil Nickinson’s review over at Android Central.

As a flagship device, the Photon carries plenty of packed in features in addition to the core specs. There are business-centric capabilities, such as global data roaming and support for Microsoft Exchange Active Sync. The display is a qHD SuperLCD. Sound out of the speakers exceeded both quality and volume, and caused the reviewers over at LaptopMag to question whether they were actually listening to a smartphone’s speakers.

Motorola’s ‘MotoBlur’ interface is gone as a brand-name, but a lot of its elements remain in the proprietary GUI implementations on the Photon 4G. Most reviewers felt they were not nearly as intrusive as Blur used to be, but there are a lot of the technoratti who are never pleased with anything that disrupts the stock Android experience and removes them from that layer of customization control.

Early indications are that battery life is on par with the Evo 3D, and a little better than the average for most super-smartphones. There are mobile dock accessories that are available for the Photon; one for at home use, and one for the car. The at home dock also comes with a remote. Once connected to a TV via the HDMI port, a full-screen Firefox browser is available.

A lot of the reviewers have tagged the Photon with their editor’s choice award. Of critical interest, of course, is the question as to whether or not this becomes the premier phone to get on Sprint if you are in the window for an upgrade. And does it trump the HTC Evo 3D and Samsung Nexus S 4G, arguably Sprint’s top two smartphones as the Photon arrives?

I would have to say that a very slight majority of the reviews declare that the Photon trumps the Evo 3D and Nexus S 4G. I will add my personal assessment that I did not agree with some of the reasons behind those declarations. In one case, the Photon was designated the winner over the Evo 3D because of the kickstand and standard HDMI-out. I personally never use my phone to display video on my TV, so for users who are not worried about this feature, aother criteria would need to be established to determine a tie-breaker between the Photon and Evo 3D. Additionally, there are adapters which will allow HDMI out over microUSB from the Evo 3D, although the content that can be sent is restricted to content shot from the phone itself. This is an example of how your own use-cases may make deficiencies pointed out in some of the reviews be complete deal-breakers, or perhaps not matter at all.

The Photon was also considered a trump card to the Nexus S 4G based on call quality and internet speeds. I have personally found the call-quality on my Nexus S 4G to be better than on my Evo 3D, and better than any recent phone that I have owned. Additionally, the recent software update that was rolled out to the Nexus S this past week has improved internet access speeds somewhat. At $99 on-contract versus the $199 for the Photon, price versus features that a user may or may not use should be weighed. The Nexus S 4G is still a great deal at $99, and it has the advantage of providing the pure Android experience that some users clamor for.

This is not to discredit the opinions of reviewers that actually had hands-on time with the device, since I have not. It is to say, consider all reviews with a grain of salt, read several reviews to get an aggregate picture, and go into the store yourself to put any device through the paces as best you can, if at all possible.

 

 

Sources:

PCWorld

Boy Genius

PCMag

Laptop Magazine

Android Central

 

 

 

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 inch 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.

Inking on the HTC Flyer with the ‘Magic Pen’

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IMG_7070HTCs Flyer is one of the first Android Tablets we’ve seen that could find a place in some new niches; Namely, pen input. From the outset I need to make it clear that the HTC Flyer isn’t a professional handwriting recognition product. There is no on-the-fly character recognition. There’s also a disconnect between the digitiser layer, the HTC pen-enabled apps and the rest of the finger-controllable tablet.

What is interesting though is the way HTC have enabled 4 apps that could be perfect for many people.

  • There’s a note-taking application which spans standard test, pen-based text and ‘scribbles’ image and audio that is backed by the excellent Evernote service.
  • There’s a PDF application which allows you to highlight and annotate over PDF files and save in the PDF format. This is one of the easiest ways to sign a PDF that I’ve ever seen!
  • Thirdly, and this one impressed me more than all the other pen-enabled apps, there’s a book-reading application that allows pen-based selection, highlighting, annotation and note-making. It’s powerful and I can see this helping students to study.
  • Finally, you can annotate images in the gallery.

HTC obviously have an API suite for ‘pen’ on Android so I hope to see more pen-enabled apps soon. Enjoy the video.

Tonight, May 18th at 2100 CEST (Berlin) we’re holding a live review at Carrypad.com/live Join us for chat and get your questions answered.

HTC Flyer Unboxed [video]

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slashgear unbox photoOur pal Chris Davies over at Slashgear has a solid unboxing video featuring the upcoming HTC Flyer [tracking page]. We’ve got lots of upcoming coverage for this device, but this is a great way to get a jump-start on becoming familiar with this very interesting 7 inch tablet.

I’m happy to see that the Flyer includes a good-looking case. It’s been far too long since I’ve seen any decent included accessories in today’s tablet-world.

Chris’s video will take you through the box and into the software for a brief look at the totally new HTC Sense and you’ll see some stylus action.

I’m really disappointed to see that the stylus doesn’t work system-wide. As you’ll see in the video, there are times where the stylus can be used for some things, but the finger has to be used for others. I’ve seen such issues before on the Nokia N810; it creates a bothersome disconnect between finger/stylus input usage for the end-user. This could likely be fixed through software, but it’s going to cause some annoyance for people who are interested in using the stylus.

Also don’t miss their gallery at the bottom of the post!

HTC Droid Incredible 2 Now Available, New GPU Offers 4x Performance Over Original

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droid incredible 2HTC and Verizon have finally gone public with the HTC Droid Incredible 2, which has been known about for some time. It’s available now from Verizon for $299 on-contract.

While I’d love to tell you that the Droid Incredible 2 is going to be the best thing since sliced bread, it actually doesn’t have many distinguishing features, even when compared to the original Droid Incredible. While you may not see many new features, it looks like there may be a good performance bump in the graphics department (see below for more detail). Have a look at a comparison table that I whipped up:

htc incredible comparison chart

While most of the changes are relatively minor, internationally traveled types will enjoy the fact that the Droid Incredible 2 will play nicely when travelling abroad.

The jump from the Adreno 200 to the 205 doesn’t appear significant at first glance, but according to Qualcomm, it’ll provide over 4 times the graphics performance of the Adreno 200 in the original Droid Incredible. Along with the additional 256MB of RAM, it looks like the Droid Incredible 2 will bring the popular phone up to spec for current generation phones.

I’m sure many folks will be disappointed to find that the sequel to their favorite phone doesn’t feature 4G. I’d definitely recommend that anyone looking into buying a Droid Incredible 2 wait for one of Verizon’s several upcoming 4G phones, or go with the Thunderbolt [product page] which is already available.

HTC Flyer Demonstrated as an Artist’s Canvas, Unlikely to Satisfy Serious Digital Artists

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htc flyer inkingThe upcoming HTC Flyer [tracking page] is one of the only (if not the only) Android tablets that is built specifically with stylus driven input in mind. NotebookItalia.com has caught a video of an artist demonstrating what it’s like to use the Flyer as a drawing tool.

I don’t speak Italian, but the video gives us somewhat of an idea of what experience you can expect from inking on the HTC Flyer. My initial feeling is that while the N-trig capacitive/active digitizer screen will feel great for digital inking, the software on the Flyer is going to determine how seriously this tablet could be used for art.

I’m no artist, but from what I understand, layers and a robust brush tool are vital to creating digital hand-drawn art. Artists need to be able to selectively work on various layers of their projects, and need to have a huge brush-head selection to be able to do mass-outs and draw textures what would be difficult to achieve with manual strokes.

At first glance, HTC’s drawing application might look ok, but a major roadblock that I can already see is that brush sizes appear to be quantized, meaning that only specific pre-set sizes can be chosen, rather than being able to select from a virtually unlimited number of possible brush sizes. Layers also don’t seem to be present, so when if you are looking at the Flyer as a seriously digital-drawing art tool, you might be better off sticking with your Wacom pads. Drawing (not writing, mind you) on the HTC shift appears to be more useful for simple sketches than masterpieces.

Digital ink for note taking, however, will likely be well received to people unfamiliar with using a real stylus and active digitizer. HTC has talked about Evernote integration on the Flyer which happens to be my go-to digital ink (and regular text-based) note taking app, so they definitely picked a good ally in this department.

The on-device inking experience might not be up to professional artistic standards, but HTC could potentially pull a Notion Ink and allow the Flyer to function as a wireless drawing pad for a full blown computer. The Flyer appears to have pressure support (a must for life-like digital inking), so conceivably it could work as wireless drawing pad when linked up to an application like Photoshop. HTC hasn’t yet announced such functionality, but here’s to hoping (or at least a clever third-party implementation)!

The HTC Flyer is launching in the UE region on the 8th of May for a steep $792 (479 pounds) for the base model. Thus the Flyer is unlikely to be anyone’s first choice as a dedicated digital inking pad as Wacom’s industry-recognized Intuos drawing pad line starts at $299.

[via netbooknews.com]

HTC Unveil New Flagship Handset, The Sensation

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Its not difficult to understand how HTC posted $33.8b market capitalisation figures for the last quarter. HTC’s early Android adaption has propelled the company from a small Taiwanese manufacturer to a global player, overshadowing both Nokia and RIM with the market cap figures.

HTC-Sensation-2HTC’s popularity is ever increasing with both tech savvy and those new to the smartphone world, a theme they will hope to follow with the announcement of their newest flagship handset, the Sensation [product database].

Powering this new “multimedia superhero inch is a 1.2Ghz dual core Qualcomm MSM8260 Snapdragon with a powerful Adreno 220 GPU, 768MB of RAM and 1GB of user accessible storage which can be expanded with the use of a microSD card. The multi touch 4.3inch S-LCD screen runs at a qHD (540×960) resolution, offering up HTC’s newest version of Sense (3.0) and Android 2.3, Gingerbread.

This new version of Sense includes customisable lock screen widgets displaying quick information on items like stocks and weather and also allows you to unlock the device by dragging an application icon into a circle, taking you straight to said application. Also on board is HTC’s Watch service, allowing downloadable movie rentals or purchases but on this occasion, unlike the Flyer, access to OnLive’s game streaming service is notably missing.

Europe is expected to see the HTC Sensation around May, with Vodafone getting a month of exclusivity in the UK. It will be released in the US as the Sensation 4G on the T-Mobile network sometime this summer.

You can track the HTC Sensation in our product database and see the press shots in the gallery.

Honeycomb Upgrade Confirmed for HTC Flyer Tablet, but How Will It Work with Inking and HTC Sense? (Updated With HTC Response)

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flyer android 3.0After watching the official HTC Flyer intro video, you’ll see that a lot of the device’s identity relies on customizations made to Android 2.2 made by HTC. The inking, for example, is completely dependent on the proprietary HTC ‘Sense’ UI, which has been modified from it’s phone roots to play nicely with tablets.

HTC has now confirmed that the Flyer will receive an upgrade to Android 3.0 once it becomes available. On their official Twitter page, they responded to someone inquiring about Android 3.0 on the Flyer with this:

We will be offering a Honeycomb upgrade when it’s made available. What feature are you most excited about?

What is less certain is how this will impact the Flyer’s inking capabilities and the features that rely on the custom HTC Sense UI. For the time being, Google has delayed the Android 3.0 source-code which means that developers have not yet been able to get their hands on the raw software for modification. Google also may desire to keep a tighter grip on the modifications that they will allow to be made to the tablet-specific interface (likely to reduce the potential for fragmentation that has been seen with the smartphone version of the Android.

There’s also the issue that the HTC Flyer has capacitive Android buttons built into the bezel of the device while Android 3.0 moves these into the software… which would create an odd redundancy, or force HTC to disable the buttons on the tablet (or within the software).

I’ve reached out to HTC to find out whether or not they’ll be able to retain the important inking features, and whether or not they’ll be allowed to bring the HTC Sense interface over to Android 3.0. I’ll update this post if we hear anything back from them.

via NetbookNews

Update: HTC has responded, rather vaguely, when asked if they’d be able to make Sense and inking customization to Android 3.0 with the following:

HTC will continue to implement the popular HTC Sense experience on future Android updates.

I’ve asked for further clarification, but this seems to indicate that there will be no barriers to adding HTC Sense and inking to the Flyer post Android 3.0 update.

HTC Thunderbolt Overview Video

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IMG_5412As promised, we’ve got a solid 30 minute video overview of the HTC Thunderbolt, Verizon’s first 4G phone. You’ll see a quick hardware tour in the beginning followed by a look at the software (Android 2.2 with HTC Sense UI) of the meaty and well built device. Have a look below:

Official HTC Flyer Intro Video

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htc flyerJkk (via SlashGear) posted this video of the HTC Flyer tablet earlier today. It gives a good idea of how HTC expects people to use their first Android tablet (though we can’t forget about the HTC Shift!). None of what you’ll see in the video is footage of actual use though, it’s all proof-of-concept. Have a look at the video below, and scroll further down to see Chippy’s brief inking test with the device at CeBIT.

The video shows off the HTC well, but it’s important to look through the marketing speak. After some time with HTC’s ‘Sense’ UI on Android, I’m not looking forward to the version that’s designed for tablets. It looks like they’ve bulkified their already-chunky widgets for use with the bigger screen.

The section about gaming is very interesting but will probably go overlooked by most because the video didn’t give a lot of info about it. HTC has made a sizable investment in the cloud gaming service OnLive, according to SlashGear, and there will be a version of their controller than can connect to the HTC Flyer and allow you to play console quality games through it. There’s also a virtual on-screen controller option but that’s pretty much a joke if you are trying to play any real-time game. This will be the first Android tablet with OnLive integration and could give HTC an advantage over it’s competitors if the service stays exclusive to HTC. With the service you can be gaming on your computer, then pause the game and pick up right where you left off on the Flyer, that’s pretty darn cool.

It’s clear that HTC has taken a lot of inspiration from the LiveScribe, and they are saying that inking and notes will be integrated with Evernote which is really good news. The closer that HTC can work with Evernote, the better. Evernote has a lot of experience with (PC) tablets and note taking. I’m just hoping that the integration will be sufficient to create wholesome workflow. Without thorough integration, people are still going to have to lug their computers around to work anyway, which sort of defeats the purpose of attempting to relegate everything to a tablet. Google Cloud Print could also be an important piece to the all-in-one productivity puzzle that HTC appears to be aiming for.

As for the ‘write anywhere’ capability, it may be less useful than it seems. After looking at Chippy’s test with the inking (video below) it appears as though as soon as one writes on the screen, it immediately takes a screenshot and then annotates the screenshot, instead of actually interfacing with the content on the screen. That’s just a guess though and it’s early software, so we’ll have to wait and see how it really pans out.

One thing that I’m not happy about with on the Flyer (other than the ugly white plastic on the back) is the lack of pen-silo for the stylus. Despite how much they’d like to say that the Flyer is totally designed for inking, I don’t know how convinced I am if there is no way to store the stylus on the device. Folks are not going to want to haul that around as a separate piece, especially if they don’t use it all the time.

Here’s Chippy’s brief hands-on with inking on the HTC Flyer:

Field Guide: Verizon’s Six Upcoming 4G Devices – 4 Smartphones, 2 Tablets – Pics, Specs, and More

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verizon 4g lte devicesWith the launch of Verizon’s first 4G (LTE) smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt, just behind us I thought it’d be a good time to lay down an overview of Verizon’s initial 4G device lineup. If you’re planning on jumping into the 4G action, listen up: these are the devices that you’ll be seeing right down the road.

At Verizon’s CES 2011 keynote, the company announced a goal to launch 10 4G devices by mid-year (which is now being refined to “summer”). Of those 10 devices, four are smartphones and two are tablets.

Availability:

All of the devices listed in this article will be available by this summer, according to Verizon.

As for 4G coverage, Verizon is continuing to roll out coverage to more regions. Take a look at the following map to see if your area is already 4G enabled, or marked as coming in 2011 (be sure to read the map legend!)

http://network4g.verizonwireless.com/pdf/VZW_4G_LTE_Coverage_Map.pdf

We saw the launch of the first of Verizon’s four upcoming 4G phones with the HTC Thunderbolt just a few days ago:

HTC Thunderbolt

htc thunderbolt front-backThe sleek looking HTC Thunderbolt is already in the hands of consumers, and we’ve seen some incredible 4G speed tests so far – speeds that easily outperform my home broadband connection (and probably yours too!). Check out this video from GottabeMobile.com of the Thunderbolt benchmarking 24.30Mbps download and 16.60Mbps upload:

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This is no doubt very impressive, but be forewarned: Verizon does not anticipate that customers will see these speeds once the 4G waves become saturated with users. Verizon has been claiming from the beginning of their LTE campaign that users should expect 5-12Mbps download and 2-5Mbps upload.

They are getting great press thanks to the ridiculous speed that the Thunderbolt achieves and even though the speed will reduce as 4G devices become more widespread, they are going to benefit greatly because the idea that “Verizon’s 4G is fast” is going to stick around in the heads of the general public much more easily than specific figures. When customers pick up a 4G phone, even after the speeds have come down to 5-12Mbps, they’ll likely still be impressed with the speed if they are coming from 3G.

Specs:

The HTC Thunderbolt isn’t just a data speed-demon, it’s also a top-of-the-line smartphone packed with some impressive hardware:

  • Android 2.2 with HTC Sense interface (unfortunately not 2.3!)
  • Qualcomm MSM8655 Snapdragon CPU @ 1GHz (Qualcomm MDM9600 chipset with LTE support)
  • 768MB of RAM
  • 8GB of built-in memory + 32GB pre-installed Micro-SD card
  • 4.3” capacitive touchscreen @ 800×480
  • 8MP rear camera with dual-LED flash and autofocus, 1.3MP front-facing camera
  • WiFi b/g/n & Bluetooth 2.1
  • GPS, FM radio

It’s also got a sweet kickstand – a hallmark of several HTC devices:

htc thunderbolt stand

I’m disappointed that it isn’t using running Android 2.3, but it seems like almost every upcoming device has this in common with the Thunderbolt. If we’re lucky, we’ll see an update to 2.3 down the road.

What it doesn’t have in common with most other smartphones on the market today is that the front-facing camera is 1.3MP instead of 0.3MP, this should offer a nice boost in video-calling quality (especially over 4G where the bandwidth is there for higher quality video).

Reviews:

If you’re looking for some quality info about the Thunderbolt, check out these reviews:

Next Up: Motorola Droid Bionic