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.
It looks like AT&T is finally ready to take the wraps off its long-awaited LTE network in an attempt to compete with Verizon's powerhouse 4G LTE, which now covers over half of the country. Ma Bell's speed-demon network will start its plan for world conquest in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Chicago, IL on September 18th, with plans of introducing another 10 LTE markets before the end of 2011.
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.
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.
Verizon just keeps pumping out LTE connectivity in new areas across the country -- we saw no less than 15 cities get their piece of the LTE pie last month, and now 26 more are all set to get lit up tomorrow, September 15th. VZW already dropped the names of 15 of those cities last month, but here's the list in its entirety:
- Fort Smith and Jonesboro, AR
- San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, CA
- Daytona, FL
- Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Rockford and Springfield, IL
- the Quad Cities, IL/IA; Iowa City, IA
- Shreveport, LA
- Kalamazoo and Saginaw, MI
- Reno, NV
- Las Cruces, NM
- Fargo, ND
- Canton, Lima and Mansfield, OH
- Dyersburg, TN
- the Tri-Cities, TN/VA
- Austin, Beaumont/Port Arthur, Wichita Falls and El Paso, TX.
VZW customers in San Francisco, CA; Indianapolis, IN; and Cleveland/Akron, OH can also expect an expanded LTE coverage area.
HTC Merge users on US Cellular, your day has come. Forget about Froyo, aka Android 2.2, and zoom straight to the latest version of Android available for non-Nexus phones - 2.3.4 "Gingerbread" (HTC version 3.10.573.1 to be exact - the image below taken from the update guide is outdated).
The update will need to be applied on a computer using HTC Sync and will wipe your device clean of emails, contacts, calendars, apps, bookmarks, and any other personalization - it'll basically be back to stock.
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.
When Samsung officially unveiled the US variants of the Galaxy S II, the spec sheet for T-Mobile's variant was oddly absent from the show. After that, we started hearing that it would not be sporting the same Exynos processor of its AT&T and Sprint siblings, but rather a chip from a "different manufacturer," with no word as to who that manufacturer could be.
Today, though, one Twitter-er had enough with the guesswork and decided to get an answer directly from the source: @GalaxySsupport, the official support account for all US Galaxy S devices.