It would appear that Sprint plans on going full speed ahead in focusing on product development for its 4G LTE lineup this year. David Owens, Sprint's VP of Product Development made clear at CES Wednesday that Sprint "won't be introducing any more WiMax smartphones," adding "April, May, June, July, August, those will be very aggressive times for us." This may be a hint that we could begin seeing LTE devices as early as April, which is great news for customers holding out for a new device (like Samsung's Galaxy Nexus, which is poised to be Sprint's first LTE device).
As I wrote back in October, Sprint currently has major network issues, but the company has been planning to address the woes with the Network Vision rollout in 2012 and 2013.
Network Vision is a project to improve existing cell towers and roll out LTE across the U.S., and it's already underway in the existing CDMA 1900MHz range. 1900MHz is nice, but just wait till you see what the 2nd stage of NV (Network Vision) has in store when it starts rolling out in the 800MHz range in place of the current iDEN network.
Looks like last week's leaked Sprint ad for the Galaxy Nexus was right on the money - The Now Network just officially announced the GN as one of its first 4G LTE devices, alongside the LG Viper.
Even though Sprint has decided to make the GN official, there is still one immediate question looming about: what is the clock speed? Truth be known - we still don't know. The press release is void of any hardware specs, so we'll just have to wait and see if the processor is running at a full 1.5GHz as previously rumored.
As we already know, Sprint is going to roll out its next generation 4G LTE network in four U.S. cities somewhere around mid-2012, and it would only make sense that they already have some of the towers undergoing testing. The first of such alleged tests surfaced online today:
While I can't promise you it's 100% legitimate, here's my analysis:
The device used is more than likely a dedicated LTE hotspot and not a handset (like the LTE Galaxy Nexus).
There's no doubt that white phones are (generally) sexy. We know this, and it seems that manufacturers are starting to catch on as well. HTC has a few white phones available, and Samsung has already pushed out a couple of white variations of the GSII on T-Mobile and AT&T. Looks like Sprint's GSII, the Epic 4G Touch, is now getting the snow-capped makeover that we heard about a few weeks ago, and will be available on January 8th for $200 with a two-year agreement.
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.
Update: The ad has been removed from CNET, but we've retained a couple images, below. Sounds like someone finally figured out the rather embarrassingly bad mistake they just made.
Well, it looks like someone doing ad-serving for CNET pulled the trigger a little early. If you head over to this CNET page (it may be taken down soon, in fact, it almost certainly will) you'll see an ad for the Sprint Galaxy Nexus, the first 4G LTE phone to hit Sprint's upcoming LTE network.
Who else wants a piece of the LTE pie? The Now Network does! Sprint CEO Dan Hessejust announced the markets that will kick off the company's LTE rollout, and, interestingly enough, they chose four of the same cities as AT&T did for its LTE-startup (cue conspiracy theories in 3... 2... 1...) - Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, TX; along with Atlanta, GA.
Some users are speculating that this move is so Sprint can directly compete with AT&T, while others are suggesting that it's more technical than that and is actually about tower placements, locations, policies, etc.
Well, here's an unexpected surprise for all the Replenish owners out there -- Sprint's greenest handset is now getting the update to Android 2.3. The update should already be rolling out in OTA fashion, bringing a number of enhancements to the device:
Upgraded OS from Froyo to Gingerbread (Android 2.3)
Increased operating system speed and efficiency
One touch word selection and copy/past
Improved power management
SMS messaging fix
As usual, the update is rolling out in stages, but it should hit all devices within ten days.