Tag Archive | "verizon wireless"

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

HTC Thunderbolt Available Tomorrow for $250, Verizon on Its Way to Goal of Launching Ten 4G Devices by Mid-year

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Just a few weeks ago, a series of strange rumors began floating around about the HTC Thunderbolt’s release date being pushed back. Oddly, a lot of people seemed to be upset about this news regarding Verizon’s first 4G phone, which is peculiar considering that neither HTC nor Verizon had yet officially announced a release date. It looks like Verizon actually wanted to quell the talk about rumored push back of release dates. @VerizonWireless tweeted the other day:

We share excitement about the HTC Thunderbolt! When there’s actual news, you’ll get it here. Until then, on to other topics.

htc thunderboltToday, however, it’s official (for real). The HTC Thunderbolt will be launching on Verizon tomorrow (the 17th) for $250. Verizon says that they aren’t taking pre-orders, though customers can start buying the device online starting at midnight EST tonight, and that stores will be operating during regular hours.

Verizon is on its way to making good on it’s promise at CES this year: that 10 LTE devices would be launched by mid-year. Though Verizon has launched other LTE devices (like mobile hotspots), the HTC Thunderbolt is the first phone to be using the carrier’s recently launched 4G data service. Still on the device-bench for a 4G release is the Droid Bionic, a Samsung 4G smartphone, the LG Revolution, and a 4G upgrade for the Xoom and an enhanced 4G version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.

People have been excited for the Thunderbolt for good reason. Aside from being created by the reputable HTC and supporting Verizon’s 4G data, the specs are looking quite nice:

  • 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 inch 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

The iPhone Has Finally Come to Verizon, with a Catch. Why I’m Happy About the iPhone on Verizon as an AT&T Customer

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iphone verizon 4So today is the big day for people who have been predicting that Apple would launch a Verizon iPhone at every single Apple event since the original iPhone announcement in 2007. Nice work guys, your “predictions inch came true 4 years later. For those who didn’t follow any of the live blogs, the Verizon iPhone 4 will be, for the most part, aesthetically identical to the AT&T version, and is priced the same. And while it’s still just the iPhone 4, there’s actually some advantages over the AT&T version. Engadget is pointing out that the Verizon iPhone has some slightly changed notches on the steel antenna band, which points to an antenna redesign. I think this is likely because Apple surely doesn’t want a repeat of “antenna-gate inch. Also, the Verizon iPhone 4 is going to feature Verizon’s mobile-hotspot which will let you share the device’s 3G CDMA connection to up to 5 other devices over WiFi (this feature comes with a costly monthly fee, of course). If you’re interested in the iPhone 4, you can order it from Verizon on February 10th, or if you’re a “qualified inch Verizon customer, you’ll be able to pre-order it on the 3rd of February.

The Catch

One downside to the iPhone 4 on Verizon is actually one of the reasons that compelled Apple to go with AT&T in the first place. That is: Verizon’s CDMA technology doesn’t allow for simultaneous data and voice. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been on a call with someone on my iPhone 4 and also been referring to emails/attachments/websites/apps that were pertinent to the conversation. With Verizon’s iPhone, you’ll end up with a lot of “Hey did you get that super important attachment? inch, “Uh…. let me call you right back inch. Still, for those already on Verizon and who prefer it’s service to AT&T, a slightly compromised iPhone is better than no iPhone at all.

Why I’m Glad the iPhone Has Come to Verizon as an AT&T Customer

It’s about damn time that AT&T had some competition! The city in which I live must have the worst iPhone service ever. I’m lucky if I break 10kbps up and 5kbps down in some places. Thank the lord that there’s usually WiFi. With the iPhone now in Verizon’s hands, there will finally be competition for the best iPhone service, and AT&T is going to be forced to step up their game if they don’t want new cellular customers going straight to Verizon for the iPhone. After being recently called out by consumer reports as the worst carrier in the US, AT&T won’t be able to hide behind it’s claims of “Nation’s fastest 3G network inch for long. I’d much rather have Verizon’s 3G reliability than AT&T’s 3G, which is fast in well covered rural areas, but horrendously slow in densely populated places. There’s finally someone to give AT&T the kick in the pants that it’s needed for several years.

There’s also FaceTime. More people with iPhone 4’s means more people with FaceTime, the simple to use — but so far under-deployed –  video calling service that’s built right into the iPhone 4 and latest generation iPod Touch. With more people having access to the service, it will become more widespread, which is always good for users. Still, it won’t be until the carriers feel that their networks are fast enough to remove the WiFi ball and chain from FaceTime that we really see it take off. And hey, what do you know, maybe this would be a good opening move for Verizon against AT&T… I love competition!

viphone search graphAnd furthermore, I’m glad that the iPhone 4 has come to Verizon because I don’t have to listen to the same Apple rumor over and over! Four years was long enough. Now that the iPhone is on Verizon and the iPad has been released, the Apple rumor mill will have to devote it’s attention to something else. I just hope I’m not hearing about touchscreen iMacs for the next four years….

Samsung Announces First 4G LTE Phone for Verizon

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lteSamsung was one of the partners today at Verizon’s CES conference, and in addition to an upgraded version of the Galaxy Tab, they also announced a smartphone for Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Oddly though, the press release issued by Samsung is simply calling the phone “The Samsung 4G LTE Smartphone inch. I’m presuming it’ll come under the Galaxy S brand at some point down the road, but for the time being it’s name is somewhat perplexing.

Samsung started with the AMOLED screen, then they went to Super AMOLED, and now they are touting the “Super AMOLED Plus inch display on this phone. What’s next, the “Super AMOLED Plus Ultra Mega inch display? Anyway here’s what we know so far about Samsung’s 4G LTE Phone:

  • Android 2.2
  • 4.3 inch capacitive Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen @ 800×480
  • 1GHz CPU (likely Samsung’s Cortex A8 based “Hummingbird inch)
  • 8MP rear camera with LED flash
  • 1.3MP front facing camera

We’re still waiting for more details (especially a catchier name!) so stay tuned!

Source: Samsung Press Release

Samsung Announces 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab with Faster CPU, Higher Resolution Camera; WiFi-Only Galaxy Tab Also on the Way

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lte galaxy tab2Today at Verizon’s CES conference, JK Shin, the president of Samsung, whipped a 4G equipped Galaxy Tab out of his coat pocket. This slightly upgraded version of the Samsung Galaxy tab has a faster CPU and better rear camera.

The Cortex A8 CPU has been slightly increased from 1GHz to 1.2GHz. The rear camera has been bumped up from 3.2MP to 5MP. Samsung also says that the device will have pre-loaded LTE specific applications. Aside from this, it’s the same device as the original Galaxy Tab. I’m interested to know how the battery life will differ between the 3G and 4G version. You can find the specs of the original Galaxy Tab at our tracking page in the device database.

Chippy’s been relying on his Galaxy Tab quite heavily during CES and I bet he wishes he had the upgraded version right now!

I feel like Verizon will end up with some angry customers on it’s hands after original Galaxy Tab holiday sales. I can only hope such customers will find out about the upgraded version so that they can return the original and get the latest one.

Samsung is also giving availability information for the launch of the WiFi-only Galaxy Tab in the US. They say that it’ll be available in the first quater of 2011. Note that the WiFi only version shares the same specs as the original.

Source: Samsung Press Release (4G Galaxy Tab) & Samsung Press Release (WiFi-only Galaxy Tab)

Live Blog — Verizon’s CES Conference

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verizonThis is the first year that Verizon has an official presence at CES and they’ve blown the top off with a big conference. Stay tuned for a live blog, we’re looking forward to seeing upcoming 4G/LTE devices from Verizon.

4:16 – Promo video… major players represented, Ericsson, Samsung, Motorola, etc.

4:17 – Talking about rural carriers… using LTE to bring broadband to places which don’t have in-ground infrastructure.

4:21 – Tony Milone on stage. Talking about launch of LTE… smooth rollout, etc. Explaining why Verizon went with LTE over WiMAX (time-to-market over longterm performance).

4:22 – Tony is claiming that 1/3 of the US population is covered in LTE coverage from Verizon. 12Mbps and 30ms ping is seen commonly for LTE users, according to him.

4:25 – Not surprisingly… talking about expanding LTE to cover more of the US. Now to the good stuff “devices and applications… that’s what this show is all about”.

4:26 – Devices are rolling onto the stage. 10 devices in total, a few of them familiar… Droid Bionic, Motorola Xoom tablet, and some LTE hotspots. “All devices available by midyear”. 4 smartphones, 2 tablets, 2 mobile hotspots, 2 notebooks.

4:27 – “It’s not about the devices themselves” … I think some of us would beg to differ!

4:30 – Dr. Jong-Seok Park from LG on stage. Introducing the “LG Revolution” smartphone. “Faster, richer, multimedia experience”. Not a lot of detail on that one. Next up…

4:33 – Interesting… CEO of Skype, Tony Bates now on stage (love the accent). Video calling through Skype coming to Verizon. Short video demo showing on screen behind Bates. Looks like Verizon didn’t want to wait for Google to come up with a video chatting solution. Bates is promising “deeply integrated” Skype into Verizon devices with front and rear cameras. “One touch video calling”. Says that Skype IDs will be integrated into device’s phone book.

4:37 Peter Chao, CEO of HTC now on stage. Announcing HTC’s “Thunderbolt” 4G smartphone for Verizon. He’s pulled the device out of his pocket. Looks a bit like the HTC G2. Claims that he’s been using it as his personal device and that it’s “blazing fast”. 4.3″ “Super LCD” screen. WiFi hotspot functionality to share 4G connection.

4:39 EA (Electronic Arts) VP, Travis Boatman on stage. Talking about gaming on mobile devices. Showing off portfolio: Tetris, Need for Speed, Monopoly, etcetera. Now showing off Rock Band Mobile. “Leveage speed and mobility of 4G to create a band…”. Jam with friends in real time over 4G.  Video reel now playing: “4 ways to play”, “20 songs”. Drums, Bass, Guitar, Microphone, all being played on 4 difference devices.

4:44 Samsung bringing 3 devices to Verizon’s service. JK Shin, president of Samsung now on stage. 4G smartphone, 4G Galaxy Tab (!), 4G mobile hotspot. He’s pulling devices out of pockets, doesn’t know which one they are in! Crowd is laughing along with him. I think I might have heard him say 1.2GHz CPU in 4G Galaxy Tab.

Smartphone details: 4.3″ Super AMOLED+ display, 8MP cam, HD recording, 1.3MP front cam.

4:46 HP and Compaq netbooks with integrated 4G. New 4G MiFi from Novatel will be launching. Motorola Droid Bionic and Xoom tablet – 10.1″ Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) adobe flash, etc. (all the classic bullet points). “Look for all these devices in the first half of the year with some devices coming as early as March.”

Audience Q&A:

Q (from tnkgrl!): Asking about battery lfie with 4G and global roaming devices.
A: Spent a lot of time working with partners to achieve battery life that customers expect. With regard to roaming… devices will be able to roam overseas utilizing 3G networks, 4G networks, etc.

Q: What’s the pricing models for 4G?
A: We are not announcing any pricing models today. Not announcing pricing on devices or rate plans.

Q: Asking about devices being locked to network, bringing up the inteooperability clause when Verizon bought parts of the specutrum their using for 4G.
A: “We will comply with the open access requirements”

Q: Will there be data caps on smartphone plans?
A: As we come to market, we’ll have pricing that you’re used to now. We are looking at different models. The type of structure we have in place now for smartphones is the type we’ll have in place for the forseeable future, caps may be in place at some time.

Q: Are all the phones you showed off today running Android? (me: I guess this question was about Verizon and WP7)
A: Yes.

Q: Can you give an opinion about net neutrality on 4G LTE?
A: In terms of NN, we’ve been very specific about the terms of the network and our resposibilities. We think that for innovation, for the benefit of the customers, that an unfettered development environment is the right thing to have. We think that the free market system works very well and that we don’t need a lot of heavy intervention. With that said: we’ll have open dialog with the folks in Washington. We think that how we got here — with the free market system — is what we need going forward.

Q: Plans for tethering?
A: Some of the devices will have mobile hotspots, but not prepared to comment on tethering at this point.

And that’s a wrap, thanks for tuning in. Stick to the front page for more CES info and more details about these devices as we find them!

Motorola Announces First 4G Phone for Verizon, the Droid Bionic – 1GHz Dual-Core CPU, 720p Recording and Editing, “qHD” Display and More

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Image 1Motorola is stepping up it’s game with a powerful new Droid phone, the Droid Bionic. This is Motorola’s first 4G phone that will take advantage of Verizon’s LTE 4G service. This powerful new Droid sports a dual-core 1GHz CPU and Motorola claims that it’ll be able to record and edit 720p HD video directly on the phone. Looks like Motorola is also going to be providing some sort of integrated videoconferencing functionality to take advantage of the phone’s front and rear cameras, though there isn’t a lot of detail about this yet. I hope we don’t see proprietary videoconferencing solutions from several different OEMs… Google should really  create a universal system for this, but they’ve yet to do so. The Droid Bionic has a “qHD” display (960×540) that levels the playing field with the iPhone 4’s “retina” display (960×640) [note that the resolution difference is due to Android’s 16:9 screen ratio, while Apple prefers 4:3].

We’ve got the full specs for the Droid Bionic straight from Motorola:

  • Android 2.2
  • 4.3” capacitive touchscreen @ 960×540
  • nVidia Tegra 2 AP20H Dual-Core CPU @ 1GHz
  • 512MB of RAM
  • 14GB of integrated memory
  • MicroSD slot with support for additional 32GB of memory
  • 4G / 3G – LTE band 13 / EVDO
  • WiFi b/g/n + Bluetooth 2.1
  • HDMI out (likely mini-HDMI, but it’s unclear)
  • 8MP rear camera with dual LED flash and autofocus, 720p recording at 30 FPS
  • 0.3MP fixed-focus front facing camera

Pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but we’ll let you know when we hear something (possibly at Verizon’s CES conference later today).

Image 2Image 3 Image 5Image 4

Samsung Fascinate Gallery and Tracking Page

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IMG_3206A quick heads up. You can now check out the full specs of the Samsung Fascinate on our tracking page. On top of that, you can catch an early glimpse of the Samsung  Fascinate in our gallery while you await the upcoming full review.

Limited Edition Motorola Droid R2D2 Hands-On Video

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photo Here’s a quick hands-on with the Motorola Droid R2D2. The R2D2 edition is the same phone as the Droid 2 [product page][review] but it has interesting Star Wars branding and content included.

The phone is themed to look like the famous droid from the Star Wars saga and the phone features custom Star Wars themed unlock sliders, live wallpapers, a video, a widget, and an app. The box that it comes in is designed to look as though the phone has been encased in carbonite and the effect is rather convincing, though I think they could have bumped up the box presentation a bit, it’s just a regular old cardboard box with graphics on it (as you’d expect from any regular phone). Some of the stuff is really gimmicky, but I think a major Star Wars geeks might enjoy the phone, particularly for it’s looks. In fact, I know a friend who would absolutely love this thing! The phone launched yesterday in the US on Verizon.

Motorola Droid 2 Gallery

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IMG_2729We’ve just added high res shots of Motorola’s Droid 2 to the gallery. Head over and check them out and stay turned for the full review, coming to a Carrypad near you!

Motorola Droid X Review

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photo 1 (1) Motorola’s new Droid X is one of three recently released Android phones that are part of Verizon’s “DROID inch branding and advertising campaign. Does this phone stand up to the competition? Read on to find out.

Hardware

Here’s a quick rundown of the Droid X’s specs before we get started. Don’t forget to check out our Droid X tracking page for additional specifications, images, news, and more.

  • OS: Android 2.1 (at the time of writing)
  • Screen: 4.3 inch capacitive touchscreen @ 854×480
  • CPU: TI OMAP 3630 @ 1GHz
  • GPU: PowerVR SGX 530
  • RAM: 512MB
  • Camera: 8MP auto-focus with dual-LED flash (720p video recording capable)

And now, a look around the phone:

IMG_1889 IMG_1888 IMG_1890 photo 3 photo 1 (2)

Design

101_0886 The Droid X’s most immediately noticeable feature is certainly it’s size. At 4.3 inch, it’s just shy of being the largest Android phone that we’ve seen – second only to the Dell Streak’s 4.8 inch screen [portal page].

The Droid X is a fairly well built phone and it feels like a just like a little slate in the hands. There is an odd vibration to it that you’ll feel if you tap it with your fingers; particularly on the back. This vibration makes the phone feel a bit less solid than I’d like, and in particular, it feels somewhat less solid to me than the Droid 2 [portal page], despite the fact that the Droid 2 is a slider and has moving parts, while the Droid X does not.

IMG_1899 The phone isn’t perfectly flat on the back. Instead, it has a raised area where the camera is located. This area likely holds the phone’s antennas as well as some of the parts necessary for the camera. It isn’t at all obtrusive to the use of the phone and seems to add some subtle but welcomed curves to a phone that would otherwise be a black rectangle. The back of the Droid X is coated in a cool rubberized material which I really enjoy the feel of. The coating colors the back in a grey matte that is definitely meant to appeal to one gender in particular.

I’m not too pleased with the quality of the hardware buttons on the Droid X. The volume rocker and lock/power buttons are top-notch in their firmness and click-ability, however, the longish camera button could be used as a mini-seesaw and the four front buttons aren’t much to write home about either.

Screen

photo 2 (1) The Droid X’s 854×480 screen can get quite bright (about as bright as the iPhone 4), but it tends to become slightly washed out with only a slight change in viewing angle (say, 45 degrees from perpendicular). To its credit though, the screen doesn’t go from “slightly washed out inch to “totally washed out inch as you continue to increase the viewing angle – it pretty much holds on to “slightly washed out inch all the way through to 179 degrees. The Droid X’s screen represents colors acceptably, except it is slightly lacking in vibrancy in the green part of the spectrum (compared to other smartphones).

The Droid X’s large screen makes typing with the default keyboard fairly easy, and for this reason, I’d definitely recommend it if you have larger hands and want an Android phone, but have found the keyboard on previous phones too squished to be accurate (and aren’t willing to get used to Swype). For me, personally, the Droid X is just a little bit too large. It’s not too comfortable to have my thumb traverse such a large space, especially when the design of Android asks that I reach to the extremes during every-day use. For instance, I might get a notification which requires that I reach all the way to the top and pull down the status bar to read it. Then I might desire to return to the home screen which requires a press of the home button which is all the way at the bottom of the phone (even a little bit further than the bottom of the screen). My hands are slightly on the small end, and not everyone is going to feel the same way; for me, the screen is just a bit too big for comfortable use. On the other hand, the Droid X’s large screen makes it great for use with Google Navigation (more on this in the software section).

What’s the Difference Between the Droid X and the Droid 2?

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droid x and droid 2 Here’s a quick video to answer that very question:

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