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.
If you have not already made the switch to Verizon's 4G LTE network, the deal announced today from AmazonWireless may finally tip the balance. Starting today and running till September 26th, AmazonWireless will give a $50 gift card to Amazon.com with every purchase of a Verizon phone or mobile broadband device (i.e. a MiFi) together with a contract.
This deal is applicable with a purchase of any Verizon device available through AmazonWireless, including popular Android phones such as the Motorola Droid Bionic 4G, the HTC Droid Incredible 2 and the HTC ThunderBolt 4G.
The Android dev community has a well-deserved reputation for releasing new versions of ROMs at breakneck speeds, and they're not slowing down with the newest kid on the block, the Motorola DROID BIONIC. In fact, @cvpcs has already ported CyanogenMod 7 to the device, and though he isn't ready to release it just yet, he has put out a video to whet our appetites:
Of course, since this is the very first time the BIONIC has successfully booted into CM7, there are plenty of bugs, including:
No radio connectivity
Issues with battery reporting
Regardless, this is certainly a viable first chapter in the BIONIC's ROM development, and we look forward to the continuation of the saga.
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:
3MP rear camera, VGA front
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
Bloomington, Champaign/Urbana, Rockford and Springfield, IL
the Quad Cities, IL/IA; Iowa City, IA
Kalamazoo and Saginaw, MI
Las Cruces, NM
Canton, Lima and Mansfield, OH
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.