Sprint is getting some significant updates to its smartphone lineup today: two high-end phones from LG and two mid-range phones from Samsung, in a variety of sizes from petite to freakin' huge, man. The Nexus 5 and G2 from LG, as well as the Galaxy S4 Mini and Galaxy Mega (6.3) from Samsung, are all available on the online store now. They should be in most retail stores soon (with a possible exception in the midwest and southeast), though the Nexus 5 will probably be scarce as usual.
The Nexus 5 is a ground-breaking device. For Android fans, this is the first high-end handset that customers can buy unsubsidized and activate on all but one of the major American carriers. This isn't a big deal with AT&T and T-Mobile, as Nexus 4 buyers could already use their networks last year, but the addition of Sprint is reason to take notice. If they can do it, it stands to reason that so could Verizon.
The first batch of Nexus 5 phones reached many early customers yesterday, but many of those taking advantage of the phone's compatibility with the Sprint network are having serious issues getting the device connected. According to several tips, this XDA thread, and this Google Groups thread, incompatible IMEI/MEID numbers on the phones are causing the activation process to fail, and giving major headaches all around.
Update: Sprint reached out to us with word that this is no longer an issue.
Sprint customer's missed out on the Nexus 4 last year, but that won't be the case this time. The carrier will start offering the Nexus 5 on November 8th for $149 on contract (after a mail-in rebate). This applies for customers looking to sign up for a new line or those who are eligible for an upgrade, and anyone who jumps on the offer will get guaranteed unlimited data for life.
Sprint Galaxy Nexus owners, you can put down those pitchforks. Your Android 4.3 update is finally coming. Sure, it's arriving just in time for Android 4.4, but hey, it's not like anyone promised that your updates would be timely. Oh, they did? Well, it gets worse. The update is rolling out in stages over a 10 - 21 day period, and device selection is random. Some of you may still have close to a month to go.
While Sprint's tri-band LTE network is far from a secret, the company's going on an all-out marketing offensive promoting the technology, which it's now given a name: Sprint Spark. Capitalizing on the unique capabilities of its newly-purchased Clearwire spectrum, Sprint is set to roll out what will likely be the US's largest LTE network in terms of spectrum usage over the coming years. That's primarily because Sprint's Clearwire acquisition granted it a block of wireless spectrum from 2500-2600MHz, the single largest contiguous frequency lease in use by any mobile data provider in the United States.
Verizon got it first (for once), but now it's time for Samsung Galaxy S4 owners on Sprint to get their Android 4.3 update on. The over-the-air download should be disseminating today, though we've yet to see confirmation from Sprint itself. Assuming that it is indeed going out, the update comes right on schedule, according to a leaked Samsung document.
In addition to the standard Android 4.3 features, the OTA download (L720VPUAMJA) delivers compatibility with the Galaxy Gear smartwatch and Samsung's Knox encryption system.
Reputed leaker of phones @evleaks is talking about the Nexus 5 again today, and this time we're hearing that the device will be available on the Sprint network. An image of the Nexus 5 was included in the Twitter posting, but it doesn't appear to be any different than the other renders of the Nexus 5. So how's this going to work?
Coming to Sprint. pic.twitter.com/dzxgIzBPXG
— @evleaks (@evleaks) October 29, 2013
Sprint support has been on the table since the radio listings leaked, so this isn't a complete surprise.
Sprint's network unfortunately sticks customers with the worst combination of variables, giving them both slower speeds than competitors while having less coverage. This situation is slowly changing, with the company rolling out faster spectrum to markets across the country that typically don't get first priority. The latest rollout brings 4G LTE to pockets scattered all throughout the country, including Lexington, Kentucky; Pensacola, Florida; and Farmington, Missouri - the perfect name for the type of locations where Sprint likes to introduce LTE.
Last week we reported that a truck transporting 22,500 LG G2 smartphones headed for Sprint was stolen at a truck stop in Gary, Indiana. WDRB reports that at least one man who committed this daring high-stakes robbery has been caught in Louisville, Kentucky along with the 18-wheeler he stole. How was this fiendishly clever criminal apprehended?
He drove the truck into a telephone pole.
No, seriously. Mr. Juan Perez-Gonzalez was arrested by the Kentucky State Police near the scene of the accident, where the truck apparently containing most or all of the LG phones was still sitting.