Adding a tempting new device to the current pool of affordable 7" tablets, ZTE and Sprint introduced the 3G-connected Optik in February, bringing to market a great 7" display, Android 3.2 Honeycomb, and an ample 1.2GHz dual-core snapdragon processor, all for $99 on a new contract. In a nutshell, the Optik is a decent 7" tablet for those on a budget. While it isn't the best tablet around, it's powerful enough for most tasks, feels great in the hand, and isn't too bad to look at.
The Amazon Appstore Android app was just updated to version 2.3, which finally raised the maximum application size that can be downloaded over a mobile connection from 20MB to 50MB - something we've been asking the company nonstop for over a year. I understand why they set the default to 20MB, but enforcing a max, especially on 4G (Sprint has unlimited 4G, for example) didn't make sense. After all, it's my data, I should be the one to decide how to use it.
A new tablet is coming to the Sprint network next month, though it's definitely on the budget-minded side of things. The ZTE Optik will be available to Sprint customers starting February 5th through Sprint's online store, with a brick and mortar appearance to follow on March 11th. Here's a quick breakdown on the need-to-know specs for the Optik:
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor (we'd expect TI OMAP 4430, but that's a guess - yours is as good as ours)
- 7" display (resolution unknown - we're predicting 1280x800)
- 1 GB RAM / 16GB internal storage
- MicroSD card slot
- 5MP rear / 2MP front camera
- Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and 3G connectivity
- 4000mAh battery
- Android 3.2 Honeycomb
- $99 w/ 2 year agreement, $349 off-contract
Check it out, below:
Thanks, Captain Anonymous!
We're gradually working our way into an all-LTE world, but there are still a few hurdles to cross. One of those hurdles, the seamless handover from LTE to 3G during a VoLTE (voice-over-LTE) call, has now been achieved by Qualcomm.
So, what does that mean, exactly? Basically, if you're on a VoLTE call in an LTE network and you leave the coverage zone, the call would normally go dead. Thanks to this new chip from Qualcomm, though, that all changes.
Update: Dow Jones Newswires apparently left out a key piece of information from Hesse's statement on throttling, in an example of truly stellar journalism and attention to detail (unfortunately, we have no audio or video record to verify Hesse's statements). Hesse was discussing throttling of those who are on networks that Sprint has roaming agreements with (which, admittedly, Sprint has a lot of - including with Verizon). While this still makes Sprint's ads technically misleading, the throttling really only applies to those who live in areas where Sprint's data network relies chiefly on roaming - not to those using primarily Sprint towers.
Sprint announced earlier today that customers in San Francisco's Bay Area "can have happy holidays this year with increased 3G coverage." For those who haven't been obsessively checking the enhancement tracker on Sprint's network site, the Now Network has implemented 130 capacity upgrades in the Bay Area over the past 90 days alone, with 62 more enhancements planned for the next 90 days.
Christopher Brydon, Sprint's Northern California Area Director, had this to say about the recent improvements:
Seems that Verizon has been experiencing some issues with its entire network for the biggest part of the day thus far - we've been hearing reports that its 4G LTE network has been down since earlier today, and it looks like 3G service is in-and-out, as well.
Big Red has been noticeably silent during this outage, so let's just hope that they have every man, women, and child on the job to get it fixed.
Not in the mood to wait around for Verizon to finally decide to put a firm release date on the Galaxy Nexus' head? Tied to one of the other carriers? If your answer to either of those questions was affirmative (and if you have three-quarters of a grand lying around), you'll be delighted to know that Expansys just put up a page from which customers can purchase the I9250 GSM variant of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
Over the past week, I've been in contact with Sprint about the demise of their network's data speeds, especially in the 3G department. As many of you were also in the same boat, we saw quite a bit of interest and started collecting information on the situation, which resulted in this knowledge dump on Sunday - read it if you haven't yet done so.
Among the tidbits of info Sprint techs let out, one was especially interesting - a round of tower upgrades that were supposed to be completed on October 31st.
Sprint has network problems. Major problems. And they've gotten a lot worse lately. Really, really bad. Not all areas are affected - and in fact some have improved already, but more and more areas are getting so bad that Sprint's 3G data is completely unusable there, especially since the introduction of the iPhone. Troubleshooting and update my phone's "profile" and PRL didn't help, as evident from the screenshot #2 you see below.