The U.S. wireless industry: so good for AT&T and Verizon, yet so bad for everyone else. In some respects, it's the world's leading market. Its LTE rollout has been aggressive and expansive, and it gets the hottest devices first. For customers, though, things aren't always so rosy. The two carriers' virtual duopoly keeps prices high and new policies unfair. The sole hope for increased competition may lie with Sprint. For US$20.1 billion, Japan's SoftBank today acquired a 70 percent stake in the carrier. Though the move could be seen as a sign of desperation for the (distant) third-place Sprint, it could also ultimately invigorate competition and swing some of the power back to customers.
LG and Sprint are using Earth Day (April 22) to launch the green-credentialed LG Optimus Elite smartphone. The successor to the LG Optimus S, the new handset features Android 2.3, a 3.5-inch capacitive touch-screen, 800 MHz processor, plus a 5 MP rear-facing camera and camcorder with flash.
Having already launched in many world markets, Samsung has now unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S II
models that are destined for U.S. carriers from September. The company’s flagship smartphone will come in three slightly different flavors through Sprint, AT&T and T-Mobile, with all running Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) with Samsung’s TouchWiz 4.0 UI and packing a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and Super AMOLED Plus touch screen display in a slim form factor. Although Samsung has revealed an LTE version is on the way, the three phones initially on offer will use HSPA+ (AT&T and T-Mobile) and WiMAX (Sprint) for 4G connectivity.
When the Motorola Photon 4G debuts through Sprint later this month it will be Motorola’s first WiMAX smartphone and Sprint’s first international 4G smartphone that is capable of working on GSM networks around the world. Powered by a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor with each core running at 1GHz, 1GB of RAM and with 16GB of built-in memory the device will come with Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) pre-installed.
The range of gadgets capable of stereoscopic glasses-free 3D viewing is slowly increasing, with the LG Optimus 3D
, Sharp Aquos SH-12C and Nintendo 3DS
gaming console already on the market. HTC has now announced that its first glasses-free 3D smartphone, the HTC EVO 3D
, will be available in Europe in July. Unveiled in March 2011 and introduced in the U.S. by Sprint on June 24, the EVO 3D features a stereoscopic 3D display, allowing users to view three-dimensional images without glasses, plus the phone is able to capture pictures in 3D.
Kyocera’s dual-touchscreen Echo smartphone
is now available through Sprint in the U.S. The standout feature of the Echo is the extra screen real estate provided by the two 3.5-inch WVGA touchscreen displays connected by a pivot hinge that allows the device to be used in the traditional single screen configuration or folded out so each display can be used independently, side-by-side or combined to form a 800 x 960 pixel 4.7-inch display – albeit divided by a black bar formed by the frame.
The recent 3D
home entertainment revolution – and I use the term loosely – may be centered on big screen TVs
but 3D is also increasingly finding its way into mobile devices. Nintendo will be first out of the gates this week when its much-anticipated 3DS
is released, while the world's first 3D smartphone, the LG Optimus 3D
, is rumored to be getting a June release. Now HTC is getting in on the 3D action with Sprint
announcing the upcoming release of the 4G
-capable HTC EVO 3D smartphone, which will be appearing alongside the equally 4G-capable HTC EVO View 4G tablet.
Google has announced that its Nexus S Android smartphone will shortly be available on Sprint's WiMAX/4G network. The curvaceous device benefits from a Super AMOLED display that's said to offer an HD-like multimedia experience, Samsung's application processor, a couple of cameras and a decent helping of onboard memory. The Sprint deal comes with the added sweetener of Google Voice support, which holds the promise of using one number for numerous phones.
For smartphone manufacturers, getting the display size right can be a bit of a balancing act. People want a screen that is big enough for doing things like composing and reading emails and viewing pictures, but they also want a device that fits comfortably in their pocket. To offer the maximum screen real estate while retaining the compact size of a smartphone, Kyocera has taken a leaf out of Nintendo’s book and come up with a dual touchscreen smartphone that offers multitasking capabilities called the Echo.
The Samsung Epic 4G smartphone is on its way to Sprint networks in coming months... and it really looks the goods. Known on the rumor mill as the "Galaxy S
Pro" before today's official announcement, the Epic 4G packs dual cameras with LED flash and (720p) video recording, a 1GHz Hummingbird processor, 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen, slide-out QWERTY keyboard and a six-axis motion sensor. Running on Android 2.1, the handset also features WiFi 802.11 b/g/n with hotspot capability for up to five devices and access to 4G data networks (WiMAX) which Sprint says can deliver peak download of more than 10 Mbps.