For anybody who is planning to buy a Xoom tomorrow, we finally have an idea on how the upgrade to 4G LTE compatibility will work. Instead of just being a simple software update, you'll have to send your device to Motorola, which, while free, will take "up to 6 business days." The process will be available approximately 90 days after the Xoom is released, and will remain available for six months.
The most anticipated Verizon phone of the month, the HTC Thunderbolt, just got its first official commercial, complete with lightning, thunderbolt (no kidding), and a guy on the hunt for HTC's newcomer who ran away straight from the Ocean's 11 set. Two things are for sure - rooftops are definitely cooler than barns, and lightning is always a good idea.
Oh, and you know what else would be a good idea?
Told you so - the price of the XOOM will indeed be significantly less than $1,200 (at least according to Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha). In fact, if you decide to take the WiFi-only route, the tablet will cost just $600 - half of the price Best Buy put up (and subsequently took down). 3G connectivity will come with a $199 premium (jacking the price up to $799), though it's worth noting that the XOOM's radio will see an LTE upgrade sometime down the road.
Last week our friends at WireFly unboxed the HTC Thunderbolt, but spent little time actually using the device. They left us with a few tantalizing tidbits though, saying "this phone cranks," and promising a full video review, as well as head-to-head comparisons with the iPhone 4 and the EVO 4G. Yesterday, the last of the three videos went up - let's take a look.
The review video is just over 8 minutes long.
First it was a mystery. Then it was the 14th of February. After that, it was indeterminately postponed. And now, Android Central is reporting that the Thunderbolt will finally launch on February 24th.
This lines up perfectly with Droid Life's earlier speculations, though of course, it's always possible that Verizon will push the date back yet again. Because, you know, it's not like anyone is eagerly awaiting the carrier's first 4G phone or anything.
Verizon is about to add another card to its deck - at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona, the carrier intends to announce VoLTE, which will enable voice calls to be routed over their fancy new LTE network. This opens the door for simultaneous voice and data usage, a feature AT&T customers have been bragging about for ages now. Additional benefits include superior call quality between VoLTE-enabled phones, though legacy 3G users will be left behind with no improved call clarity.
- 32 GB microSD card pre-installed (8 GB of ROM, for a total of 40 GB of storage)
- SIM card required for LTE
- Dual-LED flash
- 4.3" 480x800px LCD
- Android 2.2.1
- 8 MP camera around back, 1.3 MP in front
Although they just barely play with the phone while it's powered on, they mentioned in an email that "This phone cranks." They also mention that WireFly will be selling the device "soon." How soon that is is up for debate though, especially in light of today's delay.
Some internal document sent somewhere at some point today was captured by someone and then sent on to Droid-Life, and the news it contains isn't going to be making anyone particularly happy:
Here's the deal: the Thunderbolt won't be launching on the 14th (next week). Amazon and Best Buy apparently had it wrong, and Amazon has since updated its page to reflect that unknown launch date.
The Thunderbolt's Mobile Hotspot feature has also been pushed back, but I would assume this is merely to accommodate the device's new release date.
The first of AT&T's entourage of Androids for 2011 has had its release date and pricing set in stone. The Inspire 4G, essentially an AT&T version of the Thunderbolt, will be dropping on February 13th for 99 bucks on contract or upgrade pricing. And for a double-digit price, the Inspire 4G is packing some respectable specs.
- 4.3" SLCD display
- 1GHz single-core processor
- HSPA+ connectivity (AT&T's first stab at "4G")
- 8MP Rear camera
- 768MB RAM
- Android 2.2 w/ HTC Sense 2.0 (the "new" Sense)
What remains unknown is whether or not AT&T will charge a premium fee for access to its HSPA+ "4G." Given the fact that AT&T has made explicit its plans to eventually roll out true LTE 4G in Q4 2011, it might serve their publicity machine better to keep data plan rates as they are until that time.
A couple of leaked Verizon charts popped up on Droid Life this morning, their contents? HTC Thunderbolt propaganda - well, at least in one of them.
If Verizon's estimated LTE speeds aren't just hot air, then Sprint and T-Mobile (and AT&T) should probably be worried right now. Sprint's smartphone plan price hike probably isn't winning them any points, and T-Mobile's 4G handsets aren't exactly new and exciting (G2, myTouch, or a rehashed Vibrant - take your pick).