A few days ago, we received a mystery package from the good folks at RadioShack. Inside the package were three phones - the Samsung Stratosphere on Verizon, HTC EVO Design 4G on Sprint, and Samsung Infuse 4G on AT&T. Since these phones are ours to do with what we please, we've decided to do what we always do when we end up with extra goodies: give them away.
Since we have three phones to hand out, we're going to make each contest quick and dirty.
If you've been waiting for AT&T to start announcing some smartphones for its LTE network, that time is over. Ma Bell just took the wraps off of its first two LTE-powered smartphones, and they're nothing short of impressive.
Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket
The GSII Skyrocket is an incremental upgrade to AT&T's current GSII, with quite a few beefed up specs:
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.
There's been a lot of buzz over Sprint's LTE plans lately, but the company's vice president of network development and engineering, Iyad Tarazi has just added more fuel to the fire, indicating that Sprint plans to deploy LTE-Advanced in a 10x10 configuration by the first half of 2013, using its 800MHz spectrum, offering download speeds of around 12-15 MB/s.
Meanwhile, Sprint's deployment of LTE on their 1900MHz spectrum is still on track for commercial launch by mid-2012.
It seems there's been some renewed interest in the subject of Block C LTE "no locking" provisions after news that the Motorola RAZR will come equipped with a locked bootloader per Verizon's request. About four months ago, I published an article on this very topic. To summarize: Verizon can basically do almost anything it wants with handsets on its network in the name of reasonable network management - subject to a few limitations and caveats.
Update: Unfortunately, Verizon pulled the ads. When we asked them why, their official response was: "The ads were pulled because some of the professional service agreements have expired."
It's no secret that Verizon's LTE network is the fastest and largest mobile data network in the U.S. (can't say it's the most reliable though), but to make sure every Tom, Dick, and Harry knows about this, the company has rolled out a batch of LTE commercials featuring slogans such as "Instant Results," "Just Like That," "What You Want.
Twitter is absolutely abuzz about Verizon's LTE network at the moment, but not because it's blazingly fast or convenient for on-the-go web browsing. No, Twitter is currently blowing up because it seems that 4G is down for most (if not all) VZW subscribers. For many 4G users, 3G is also having issues, likely a side-effect caused by Verizon's 4G devices. Adding to the flood of tweets, reader J Weissman has also confirmed the outage, tipping us just moments ago.
A phone with model name SHV-E120L recently passed through the FCC. Despite our initial excitement that it could be the Galaxy Nexus (née Prime), it turned out to be none other than the Samsung Galaxy S II HD LTE, king of lengthy titles.
We originally saw this phone announced last month in Korea, where Samsung wowed with a spacious 4.65" screen, 1280 x 720 resolution, and disappointingly restricted geographical range.