Here we are: the launch of the first Samsung Galaxy S II to hit a U.S. carrier, dubbed the Epic 4G Touch (E4GT) and landing on Sprint today. It certainly took long enough for the SGSII to hit U.S. shores - it was announced by Samsung in February during MWC, and launched as early as May in some markets. It was a huge success even before launch, with Samsung receiving millions of pre-orders, and for good reason - the SGSII was incredibly well rated, with reviewers universally praising it as one of (usually the) best Android device available. Consequently, for months after its international lanch, it was highly anticipated in the U.S.
A few months ago, I reviewed the Droid X2 and came away unimpressed. Performance was mediocre despite the powerful dual core Tegra 2 CPU, and more importantly, the PenTile display used by Motorola was a step up on paper and a huge step back in practice. Fast forward a few months and I've landed a Motorola Photon 4G (slightly behind schedule thanks to a few logistics issues, but better late than never!) I'm happy to report that despite seeming like it's almost the same device inside, it's quite a different beast this time around.
At A Glance
- Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread) + NinjaBlur UI
- 1 GHz Tegra 2 (dual core) CPU
- 1 GB DDR2 RAM (twice the 512MB of RAM in the Droid X2)
- 4.3" qHD (960 x 540) PenTile display
- World Phone - CDMA and GSM bands
- 4G (WiMax) support
- 8MP camera with dual LED flash, 720p video capture
- VGA front-facing camera
- 16GB memory + microSD slot (empty out of the box)
- HDMI Mirroring
- 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
- Smooth and responsive performance all around, including in the browser.
Boost Mobile, a pay-as-you-go subsidiary of Sprint, is set to add yet another Android-powered device to its lineup: the Samsung Transform Ultra. Like most other Boost phones, the Transform Ultra isn't as powerful as something that you'll find a post-paid carrier, but the lack of a required agreement makes this a very attractive product nonetheless.
While some of the more detailed hardware specs were left out of the official press release (see below), here is what we do know about the Transform Ultra:
- 1GHz processor
- 3MP rear camera, VGA front
- Slide-out QWERTY
- Android 2.3.x
As I said, it's far from a powerhouse, but it's nothing to scoff at, either.
The newest version of Sprint's weekly "playbook" has been sent around to employees, and as usual, we have a copy. Sadly, this week's edition doesn't exactly inspire confidence for the future of the nation's third-largest carrier - in fact, one of Sprint's primary benefits, the Premier program, will be disappearing down the drain shortly. It's not all bad news, though, so let's dig in and see what's up and coming in the world of Sprint.
The Death of Sprint Premier
In retrospect, we should have seen this one coming - Sprint has, after all, been gradually decreasing the benefits of its Premier program over the last year or so.
Sprint's Motorola Photon 4G, one of our favorite devices on this network, is receiving a small over-the-air update that will bring it up to version 4.5.1A-1_SUN-154_6/45.2.7.MB855.Sprint.en.US. The only publicized fixes are related to Wi-Fi, with users over at Android Forums reporting improved performance.
As always, wait for the update to pop up or force the check by going to Settings > About phone > System updates.
Sprint's LG Optimus S may be a budget Android device, but apparently that isn't going to stop Sprint and LG from providing Android updates going forward. Today, Sprint announced via its Community Forums that an update to Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) is rolling out to some devices beginning today, with all devices being updated within 10 days.
The official enhancements/fixes list:
LG Optimus S Software Update - Android 2.3 (LS670ZVH)
- Volume adjustment from handset when backlight is off and in a Bluetooth call
- Initiation of a 3-way call in certain markets
- Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
- Updated color scheme (includesdarker notification bar and black-based menus)
- New on-screen keyboard (supports multi-touch input and a smart auto-correction function)
- Improved cut-paste functionality
- New integrated download application for ease in accessing downloaded files
- Updated camera application
- Power management and task killer applications
- The new software version is: LS670ZVH
- Released in stages with 100% of devices having received the update within 10 days
- Refer to the LG Optimus S Software Update blog for install instructions
All in all, not a bad update, and one that should help the low-end device run just a little smoother and faster.
Sprint announced its version of the LG Optimus Black earlier today, which will be known as the LG Marquee. It's a solid mid-range phone, with an appropriate pricetag:
- 4-inch 480x800 NOVA display
- 1GHz single-core processor
- 512MB RAM
- 2GB built-in storage
- 5MP and 2MP cameras
- Android 2.3
- $99 with a two-year agreement
This definitely seems like a worthy contender if you're looking for a solid smartphone on Sprint but don't need the power (or pricetag) of the Photon, EVO 3D, or Epic 4G Touch.
The Marquee will debut at Fashion Week in NYC and be available for purchase online starting September 20th with in-store availability on October 2nd.
The Samsung Galaxy S II (SGSII) has been one of the most highly anticipated devices in recent memory - perhaps second only to the annual new iPhone. There are two very good reasons for this: first, the original Galaxy S devices were hailed as some of the best on the market. Second - and more importantly - from its start as an on-paper proof, to its run on the trade show circuit, through its international release, the Galaxy S II been hailed as one of (if not the) best phone on the market.
Unfortunately for those of us in the States, we've had to wait quite a bit longer than our European counterparts to get our mitts on the hottest piece of Android kit ever to hit the market.
The crown jewel of Sprint's service is undeniably its "truly" unlimited data, so when rumors of the Sprint iPhone started surfacing, customers of the Now Network immediately started questioning what would happen to data plans as a result.
The other two carriers currently offering the iPhone, Verizon and AT&T, both switched to tiered data plans shortly after they started carrying the device, so it was an understandable fear coming from Sprintsters across the nation that they, too, may end up on the same [horrible] system. Fortunately, though, "people familiar with the matter" have told Bloomberg otherwise -- Sprint will indeed be keeping its current unlimited data packages around after the launch of the iPhone, with no plans of switching to tiered data plans.
Just in time for its September 9 release, Sprint has officially announced the mid-range Kyocera Milano. The specs can't match up to some of Sprint's heavy hitters like the EVO 3D and Epic 4G Touch, but it's certainly a step up from some cheap feature phones:
- 3" display
- 3.2 megapixel camera
- 800 MHz processor
- 512 MB RAM
- Android 2.3
- Sprint ID
- 1490 mAH battery
It also includes an "Eco Mode," which appears to be custom software by Kyocera designed to help manage battery life - probably not much different from many apps in the Market that already do the same.