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.
Perhaps you've heard of an upcoming phone called the Galaxy Nexus. It's just a little piece of awesome sent down from the Android Gods to bring in the newest version of Android: Ice Cream Sandwich. Ever since it was officially unveiled on Tuesday night, there have been rumors flying around that Big Red may not be the network that will get this oh-so spectacular device -- but, thankfully, we can now put all that crap to rest, because Verizon just officially announced it.
We've been hearing rumors of the Droid RAZR for some time now, and it's finally official. Like previously suggested, this is a super-thin, ultra-light powerhouse of a device, with some pretty impressive features tucked away under its sleek, stainless steel frame:
- 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display
- 1.2GHz dual-core processor
- 1GB RAM
- 8MP rear shooter, front facing camera
- 16GB built-in storage, 16GB microSD card
- Android 2.3.5
- 7.1mm thin, 127 grams
- 1800mAh battery
- Made with Kevlar fiber
- Gorilla Glass
- Motorola Splash Guard
- Webtop cabpable
- 4G LTE
- Bluetooth 4.0
Update 10/19/11: Two official videos of the RAZR:
The Droid RAZR packs some new software features, as well, like Motorola Smart Actions, a Tasker or Locale-like automation system that can toggle radios, adjust brightness, clock speed, and more, all of which are user definable and will activate given a certain situation.
It was inevitable that the question is the bootloader locked? would pop up within minutes of Moto's RAZR announcement. The answer should come as a shocker to no one: Yes. According to Moto's Twitter, the bootloader will indeed be locked. It's not necessarily Motorola's choice, though, as the tweet specifically states that "the bootloader was locked per the carrier" Oh snap -- it was all Verizon's fault.
What does this mean for future Big Red devices?
Nexus news is leaking like a sieve over at Verizon. This time it's from something called "Verizon MAP" (Apparently that's "minimum advertised price"). The latest tidbit of info is one of the last important bits, the price! It's $299.99.
Before you freak out about the November 10th date; that's not necessarily the launch date - more like the earliest possible launch date. We've got a least a month to go.
All this news also applies to the HTC Rezound (formerly the Vigor), which is apparently going head-to-head with Google's frozen flagship.
Not one hundred dollars, not ten dollars, not one dollar, one cent. That's right, the LTE-packing Droid Bionic can be yours for a penny from Amazon Wireless if you're a switcher. Current Verizon customers have to pay the full $220. The usual hooks apply, it's a penny only on a 2 year contract.
Amazon is even throwing in free shipping. What more do you want? If you are still on the fence, check out our review of the Bionic here.
On October 20th, VZW will be turning on LTE coverage in 20 new markets, and this morning, an announcement was sent out with details of 13 new cities that will be added to the mix on November 17th:
- Little Rock, AR
- Savannah, GA
- Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, IA
- Lexington, KY
- Kansas City and Springfield, MO
- Lincoln, NE
- Orange County, NY
- Greater Providence, Rapid City, SD
- Roanoke, VA
- Appleton, WS
It's clear that Big Red has no intentions of slowing down until it blankets the entire country with super-fast LTE, and at the rate it's going, that day will probably be pretty soon.
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
- 4G LTE
- 5-row slide-out QWERTY keyboard
- 512MB RAM
- 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)
- Bluetooth 3.0
- 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.
Sprint announced today it will be switching 4G technologies from WiMax to LTE. The LTE network should go live in mid 2012 and and have a "full rollout" by 2013. Sprint eventually hopes to double current amount of 4G customers with its LTE rollout.
Joining the LTE ranks puts Sprint in the same technology corner as AT&T and Verizon, with only T-Mobile still clinging to HSPA+. Sprint's slice of the LTE airways will be the 800 and 1900Mhz spectrum and, pending the FCC's blessing, 1600MHz.