4G. The acronym is probably the most abused term in tech industry since "HD." And if you spend as much time reading up on mobile phone news as us (we hope you don't, that's what we're for!), you probably have come to the same conclusion: it's almost without meaning, constantly misrepresented, and defined on a completely subjective basis. We don't like any of this.
Neither do some of the members of congress, apparently.
Early rumours indicated that the Samsung Stratosphere would be released in September, and there were even leaked press shots of the device. However, here we are in October, and Verizon has just now taken the wraps off of the Stratosphere.
Billed as the "first 4G LTE smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard," the Samsung Stratosphere packs a hefty package, including:
Android 2.3 Gingerbread
1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor
4-inch (800x480) WVGA Super AMOLED display
5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard
4GB on-board memory
4GB pre-installed microSD card (up to 32GB supported)
5MP rear camera, 1.3MP front camera (720p HD playback and 480p recording)
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n
The Stratosphere is clearly targeted towards the business user as alongside the QWERTY keyboard, the device will also have "enhanced B2B-enabled connectivity services from Cisco, the most comprehensive mobile implementation of Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) and support for secure remote device management from Sybase Afaria." Additionally, the device will support "Samsung’s Enterprise Platform enhancements such as VPN, encryption and Mobile Device Management (MDM)." This is a powerful phone that looks to attack RIM's enterprise stronghold and take-away market share from the BlackBerry by offering support for features corporate users find essential.
The DROID BIONIC, it's no secret, hasn't been launched bug-free. In fact, there's a number of bugs, particularly the dreaded data connection drop, that make using the BIONIC a major annoyance at times. Verizon has apparently been keeping track, and has a very detailed list of the glitches currently afflicting the phone, given to a customer in a support e-mail (weird, we know). The good folks over at Droid-life have compiled a "Top 10" bug list along with all the reported issues (here), and we've excerpted a few that we've noticed most:
1. Issue: 4G/3G Service – Data Connectivity
Marginal 4G to 3G transition: Loss of data connectivity – The device may display 3G service indication but no data connections are possible.
After just over a year of envious grumbling, the Canadians have finally gotten their first taste of LTE. Rogers Wireless announced today that true 4G speeds are available to customers in specific coverage areas in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.
While this is surely a cause for excitement for my fellow Canucks, the devices that are currently on this new network aren't. At the time of launch, the only LTE device available to consumers is the Sierra Wireless AirCard 313U, a mobile "LTE Rocket stick" for laptops.
The Android Police giveaway fever continues, but this time we've stepped things up with a triple header. Once again, we've teamed up with NVIDIA to give away three Motorola Photon 4Gs. Why? Because NVIDIA and Tegra Zone are awesome.
As I myself have discovered in the past few weeks, the Photon is a great phone that packs some serious power under the hood:
Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) + NinjaBlur UI
1 GHz NVIDIA Tegra 2 (dual core) CPU
1 GB DDR2 RAM
4.3" qHD (960 x 540) display
CDMA and GSM bands
8MP camera with dual LED flash, 720p video capture in the rear, VGA front-facing camera
16GB memory + microSD slot
802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
Before we move on to the giveaway, I wanted to mention our awesome sponsor, NVIDIA, once again.
Since Sprint's agreement with LTE wholesaler LightSquared was signed in July, there have been rumblings about just when the carrier would launch an LTE network of its own. CNET reported Tuesday that the time is nearly at hand - Sprint is poised to launch their LTE network beginning in "early 2012."
According to CNET, Sprint hopes to launch this service by the beginning of Q2 2012, and the costs associated with the rollout have already been accounted for, meaning no additional capital investment will be necessary.
Amazon has reduced the price of the Motorola DROID BIONC for new Verizon subscribers to just $150 - and you'll get a free $50 Amazon Gift Card to boot, which would probably wisely be spent on a spare battery and charger.
Verizon's first dual-core phone to feature LTE and a qHD display (with somewhat yucky PenTile subpixel rendering), the BIONIC is definitely Verizon's current powerhouse handset.
For current Verizon customers, the price remains unchanged: $250 with a renewal of your 2-year agreement.
When I switched from AT&T from Verizon and swapped my aging, battered, and bruised Nexus One for a DROID BIONIC, the possibility of buyer’s remorse was not on my mind. I was coming from AT&T - America’s single least reliable network in terms of dropped calls. So, I thought the last thing I’d end up doing was wishing I was back there. And now, at least part of me does.
If you own a Verizon 4G LTE handset, you’ve probably experienced an issue exactly or approximately like this one: You put your phone in your pocket or let it sit overnight, take it out some time later or the next morning, and there’s no data connection.
A new month, a new batch of cities all lined up to get the LTE treatment, courtesy of Big Red. This go around, we're hearing that at least 21 new cities will be getting blanketed in VZW's ultra-fast LTE network, a follow up to the 26 that were just activated. The list of cities isn't available in its entirety just yet, but here's what we have so far:
Modesto and Stockton, CA
Fort Myers, FL
Bloomington, Elkhart, Evansville, South Bend and Terre Haute, IN
Sioux City, IA
Albuquerque and Santa Fe, NM
Jackson and Martin, TN
Greater Hampton Roads and Richmond, VA
Green Bay, WI
San Diego and Los Angeles, CA are said to be getting an expanded coverage area, as well.
Tablets come in two flavors: either Wi-Fi only, or packing 3G/4G from a carrier. In the former, it can be purchased without a contract and usually for a lower price. The 3G/4G model typically costs more (although it may be cheaper thanks to a carrier subsidy, which is offset by the cost of the plan), and comes on contract.