Two new 4G Androids: AT&T's Inspire and T-Mobile's Galaxy S

February 2, 2011: 12:52 AM ET

Both are not entirely new or incredibly groundbreaking but are both interesting for the reasons outlined below.

AT&T (T) was first up today with the announcement of the Inspire 4G, the company's first 4G phone.  As far as specs and aesthetics are concerned, it is pretty much on par with Sprint's (S) EVO 4G, with an 8 megapixel camera, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3" screen, etc. The Inspire doesn't have a front-facing camera, an HDMI slot, or a kickstand, but it does have Dolby Mobile HD sound, which may or may not be interesting.

The differentiator on this is the price.  AT&T is selling its top of the line Android phone for $99 with a two year plan.  That's $100 below Apple's (AAPL) 3G iPhone 4, and the Inspire also has 4G hotspot capabilities.  Sprint sold its EVO for $250 at launch, and it still retails for $200.

AT&T's Motorola (MMI) Atrix, the show stopper at this year's CES trade show, has been showing up at retailers at $150.  Taken together, it looks like AT&T is really pricing their new line of Androids aggressively, much more so than Verizon has.  Their aggressiveness may push other carriers' prices down as well.

The Insprire comes with a new version of the HTC Sense overlay which has the following features:

  • Forward calls/messages to another phone when you accidentally leave your phone elsewhere
  • Log in to HTCsense.com to remote wipe, lock your phone or to post a message
  • If your phone is stolen and your GPS is activated, track its location
  • Manage all of your contacts and text messages from HTCsense.com
  • With one click, instruct your phone to ring aloud even if its volume is set to low

I should note that AT&T and T-Mobile below consider their networks to be 4G, but they are really just faster 3G networks at this point.  I haven't tested AT&T's version of 4G yet but I can vouch for T-Mobile's, which "feels" as fast as Sprint's "genuine" 4G WiMax network.

Speaking of T-Mobile, Magenta announced their Galaxy S 4G phone this evening.  This is T-Mobile's third Galaxy S line phone after the Vibrant and the Nexus S sold by Google (GOOG).

The Galaxy S is the first phone to connect to T-Mobile's network at 21Mbps speeds.  It also has a front-facing camera and comes loaded with the movie Inception, but it is otherwise similar to the Vibrant and Galaxy S phones.

What's interesting here is that instead of choosing another phone name for this version of the Galaxy S line, they just went with the generic Galaxy S.  T-Mobile told me that "Galaxy S" had more than enough name recognition to carry the idea and would be better than starting from scratch with a new idea.  It will be interesting to see if others follow, especially as it seems they are running out of cool-sounding names.

The Galaxy S 4G is coming later this month to T-Mobile.

GALAXY S  press release below:

Galaxy S 4G from T-Mobile to Offer Blazing-Fast Speeds and Unparalleled Entertainment Experience Featuring Movies, TV and Video Chat

T-Mobile expands America's Largest 4G Network to eight new metropolitan areas in South and Midwest

BELLEVUE, Wash., and DALLAS — Feb. 2, 2011 — T-Mobile USA, Inc. and Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile), the No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S. 1, today announced the anticipated February availability of the Galaxy S™ 4G, exclusively from T-Mobile. According to T-Mobile, the Galaxy S 4G will be the fastest smartphone running on America's Largest 4G Network™2. The Galaxy S 4G, T-Mobile's first smartphone capable of delivering theoretical peak download speeds of up to 21 Mbps, offers enhanced mobile experiences and unparalleled entertainment including mobile HD TV3 through T-Mobile TV, the ACADEMY AWARD® Nominated film INCEPTION, and  T-Mobile Video Chat powered by Qik™ — delivered at 4G speeds on its 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen display.

T-Mobile also announced the expansion of America's largest 4G network into more than 100 major metropolitan areas, reaching more than 200 million people nationwide. In addition to the expanding its 4G footprint, T-Mobile also has aggressive plans to double the speed of its 4G network in 2011, and the company expects that 140 million Americans in 25 major metropolitan areas will have access to these increased 4G speeds by midyear.

"The Galaxy S 4G pushes the envelope by reaping the benefits of our network's unprecedented speeds and by offering groundbreaking entertainment experiences," said Andrew Sherrard, senior vice president, product management, T-Mobile USA. "We are excited to continue to expand our portfolio of 4G devices that enable our customers to have access to unique and compelling features and an optimal 4G experience."

"The Galaxy S 4G offers customers Samsung's core premium product investments to speed, screen and content," said Omar Khan, chief strategy officer, Samsung Mobile. "Galaxy S 4G is T-Mobile's fastest smartphone and offers Samsung's brilliant Super AMOLED display and rich multimedia features for premium movie and TV content."

Through the delivery of faster speeds comes an enhanced experience when viewing video entertainment over the Web using services such as YouTube. In addition T-Mobile TV, a pre-loaded application, offers consumers access to live and on-demandmobile HD TV on T-Mobile's 4G network, including free programming from select stations like ABC News NOW, FOX Sports, PBS Kids and Azteca America.

To further enhance the entertainment package on the Galaxy S 4G, T-Mobile has preloaded, at no additional cost to consumers, Warner Bros. Pictures' ACADEMY AWARD® Nominated film INCEPTION which is nominated for Best Picture, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Music (Original Score), Best Sound Editing and Best Visual Effects.  Customers also have the option to rent or purchase their favorite movies and TV programs directly from the Samsung Media Hub, which features a robust collection of new releases and TV shows.

The Galaxy S 4G's blazing-fast speeds will make sharing memories via e-mail, social networks or video quick and easy. For example, the pre-loaded T-Mobile Video Chat application powered by Qik enables customers to share any moment with loved ones virtually whenever and wherever they want through T-Mobile's network or Wi-Fi. Using either the front-facing or the rear camera, which features a 720p HD camcorder, paired with Video Chat allows customers to hold video conversations with friends and family who have a compatible mobile device.

Featured as a pre-installed application, doubleTwist® with AirSync™ provides customers with a useful and easy way to auto-sync and back up photos, HD videos and music to and from their home computer. With a Wi-Fi connection, customers can easily sync their media wirelessly and at no additional cost. The doubleTwist Player lets customers enjoy their favorite tunes and videos directly from their phone while on the go. The Galaxy S 4G also comes preloaded with Slacker Radio, offering music fans more than 130 genre stations and ability to create their own custom stations for free.

With a slim and sleek design, the Galaxy S 4G's 4-inch Super AMOLED touch screen display gives customers a vivid, sharp viewing experience, whether consumers choose to watch a movie or read a book or newspaper with the preloaded Kindle for Android application while on the go. Powered by Android™ 2.2, the Galaxy S 4G is equipped with a speedy Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor, an ST-Ericsson M5720 HSPA+ 4G modem to enable theoretical peak downloads of up to 21 Mbps, a 5 megapixel camera, a preinstalled 16GB microSD memory card, and a 1650 mAh lithium ion battery.

Availability

The Galaxy S 4G is expected to be available to T-Mobile customers in February. Customers can visit http://galaxy-s.t-mobile.com/4G for more information.

Beginning today, T-Mobile's network will also be delivering 4G speeds to Albany, Augusta, Columbus and Macon, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn., in the South region as well as in Champaign, Ill.; Lansing, Mich.; and Rochester, Minn., in the Midwest.

# # #

T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network not available everywhere. See coverage details at T‑Mobile.com. 4G used in connection with the Galaxy S™ 4G product name refers to the fact that the Galaxy S™ 4G is designed with HSPA+ technology.

Android is a trademark of Google, Inc.

ACADEMY AWARD® is a registered trademark of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

1 No. 1 mobile phone provider in the U.S claim for Samsung Mobile based upon reported shipment data, according to Strategy Analytics Q3 2010 U.S. Market Share Handset Shipments Report.

2 T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network not available everywhere; see coverage details at T‑Mobile.com. 4G used in connection with the Galaxy S 4G product name refers to the fact that the Galaxy S 4G is designed with HSPA+ technology.

3 Mobile HD TV can deliver a bit rate of 800kbps and 16:9 resolution; the bit rate and resolution experienced will vary based on many factors, e.g., programming, network connection and device.

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About This Author
Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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