Verizon has been throttling unlimited 3G data subscribers for years now, but never 4G LTE users. Until today, when they announced this morning that beginning October 1st, the top 5% of 4G LTE data users who coincidentally meet a series of other factors will get throttled. According to DroidLife, a recent report showed that over 20% of Verizon data users were still on an unlimited data plan, so it’s no surprise that Verizon would want to push these users to a tiered data plan.
A Localytics study issued today helps understand why Verizon Wireless recently sided with Samsung in the ongoing Apple vs. Samsung legal saga. Per Localytics’ data, 4G is one of Android’s key differentiators: More than one in three Android phones in the United States take advantage of fourth-generation cellular networks. In the third quarter of this year, some 36.6 percent of Android handsets in the United States were 4G-ready, a notable increase over the 22.6 percent in the first quarter of 2011.
This number is increasing rapidly – since the beginning of the year, the percentage of Android devices that are 4G-capable has grown by over 50 percent, culminating at a full third of the Android ecosystem. It will be interesting to see whether the iPhone 5 supports any type of 4G network. The drawbacks – bulkier antenna and a much shorter battery life – may outweigh the benefits in speed. Regardless, with the growth in 4G-capable handsets Android has seen, it appears that smartphone users are buying into the value of speed. We’ll see how this continues.
The nation’s most popular 4G handsets in the third quarter were the HTC Thunderbolt (Verizon), the HTC Evo 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Epic 4G (Sprint), the Samsung Droid Charge (Verizon), the myTouch 4G (T-Mobile USA) and the Motorola Atrix (AT&T). A few caveats and the full list of most popular 4G devices in the country right below the fold…
Droid-Life has published exclusive shots of the HTC Vigor which shows some pretty impressive specs for the upcoming device. According to a shot after the break, the Vigor is shown having a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 4.3-inch 720p HD display, 8-megapixel rear-facing, 2-megapixel front-facing camera, and Verizon Wireless’s 4G LTE.
On the hardware side, the Vigor will feature Android 2.3.4 and Sense 3.5 (ugh). There’s no word on release date, but looks like a nice Thunderbolt successor, eh?
Verizon has just announced the Pantech Breakout 4G LTE, which is available available right now. The Breakout is available for $99 on two-year contract, making for the first low-cost 4G LTE to hit the market. The specs are nothing spectacular, but pretty good for $99 combined with LTE. The phone features a 1 GHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, microSD support with an 8 GB card included, a 4-inch 480×800 display, Gingerbread, 5-megapixel rear-shooter, and VGA front-facing shooter.
Of course the elephant in the room is that you can get just about any high end Android LTE phone at Amazon for almost free with a two year plan.
A couple more shots after the break:
The Droid Bionic you have all been waiting for has just made its official debut on the Motorola Store. The Store posting doesn’t say much. In fact, there aren’t any specs or details, but we’re assuming those are coming shortly. And of course, you can’t purchase the device quite yet.
Luckily, a few more press shots were provided with the official posting. Upon our first look we’ve noticed the device is still looking pretty thick. We can’t make any official judgements quite yet, but look out for early September. (via Android Central)
Check out a few more press shots after the break:
Engadget has leaked exclusive images of the HTC Holiday, a device reportedly heading to AT&T this fall with 4G bands. The device looks to pack a beautiful 4.5-inch qHD display, 1.2 GHz processor, 8-megapixel shooter, 1.3-megapixel front facing camera, and yes, 4G LTE.
DroidLife has also leaked the first pictures of the HTC Vigor, a device that packs a 1.5 GHz processor heading to Verizon this fall with 4G bands. Overall specs for the device are impressive: a front facing camera, shooter on the back, 4.3-inch HD screen, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal space.
These devices paired with the Galaxy S II and Droid Bionic, and what ever else carriers have down their sleeve, will make Android to have a sure shot against the iPhone 5 — which is slated for a mid-October launch. Read more
Carrier Sprint today announced a fifteen-year deal with LightSquared enabling them to offer 4G LTE services on their network. As you know, Sprint currently offers wireless broadband marketed as 4G through its majority stake in Clearwire, utilizing their WiMax technology. Sprint couldn’t have signed a better deal to joing the 4G LTE craze. LightSquared will actually pay the carrier $9 billion in cash over the course of eleven years to deploy an LTE network, spending itself $13 billion over the next eight years on boosting their network capacity. In return, the company will be allowed to sell their 4G service to Sprint customers. Sprint can tap up to 50 percent of LightSquared’s 4G capacity and a roaming agreement will be in place by 2012.
On the downside, LightSquared plans on launching its first 4G market in 2012 and finish commercial deployment by 2015. Compared this to AT&T and Verizon Wireless which already operate 4G LTE service in select markets and plan to commercially deploy their networks by the end of next year. However, Sprint is the nation’s third-largest carrier with 51 million customers as of June so the ability to host on their network an increasing number of 4G LTE smartphones will positively impact their bottom line and competitiveness. Plus. Sprint is rumored to have been testing a Sprint iPhone for some time, with Apple seeking a carrier engineer in the Kansas City area, where Sprint is headquartered.
Motorola’s Xoom will get the promised 4G LTE modem upgrade in September, per corporate communication from Verizon Wireless sent to registered users, published by the Droid Life blog. The free of charge update promises a tenfold increase in network speeds, available to more than 110 million people in select markets where the carrier rolled out its 4G LTE network, with “coverage expanding every day”. The email notice reads:
Be on the lookout at the end of summer for an email with information about how to upgrade your Motorola XOOM to speeds up to 10X faster than 3G. In the meantime, learn more about what you can do to prepare for the 4G LTE upgrade to your Motorola XOOM by backing up data, encrypting, or resetting your Motorola Xoom tablet.
On a somewhat related note, T-Mobile and Sony Ericsson also began rolling out Gingerbread updates to the Xperia X10 and G2x
We certainly knew Motorola’s Droid Bionic was on its way to Verizon, but a price was uncertain until now. Android Central has found Verizon’s unreleased Droid Does product page for the Bionic that shows the 4G device at $299 on a two year contract. Ouch! Still no release date, but we’re shooting for early August. Make sure to check out the specs after the break.
Verizon has launched a sign-up page for their upcoming Motorola LTE phone, the Droid Bionic. The Bionic was announced at CES in January, but had some flaws that needed ironing out. On the sign-up page Verizon says the phone will be available this summer (which is half over already). We reported August 4th could be the launch date — could this still be the case? Head over to Verizon to sign-up and get updates, or just stick to 9to5Google.
AT&T this morning announced first two devices 4G LTE devices, both Mac compatible: A 4G LTE mobile hotspot and a 4G LTE USB modem. If you live in any of AT&T’s five 4G LTE markets (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio, with more coming by the year’s end), you can take advantage of 4G LTE speeds. Those living outside the initial 4G LTE coverage needn’t worry because AT&T, as they say, will have the only combo LTE/HSPA+ network and both devices feature HSPA+ support as a fallback technology. “Our customers will receive a more consistent mobile broadband experience that supports simultaneous voice and data connections and higher speeds than others can provide outside their LTE footprint”, AT&T argues. More on the devices, availability and price points after the break.