Verizon Wireless is reaching back into cellphone history for its next foray into prepaid, dusting off last year’s LG Optimus L3 and renaming it the Optimus Zone (model number: LGVS410PP). A new name alone won’t improve the specs on this strictly-entry-level device, however, with the Gingerbread-powered (you read that right) slate offering up a 3.2-inch QVGA display, 800MHz processor, 3.15-megapixel camera, and not much else. Look for the revived Zone to sell for just north of free by the end of the month.
Verizon held its Q3 2012 earnings call this morning and —aside from announcing $29 billion in total operating revenue— revealed Android smartphones were 79 percent of its total smartphone activations for the quarter.
The nation’s second-largest carrier also said operating revenue experienced a 3.9-percent gain over last year, while noting a third consecutive quarter of “double-digit percentage growth.” As for mobile device activations, 4G LTE smartphone penetration increased from “just below 50 percent last quarter to more than 53 percent.”
The company further disclosed that it activated 6.8 million smartphone in Q3, and 3.4 million of those activations were Android-powered devices. Three million were also specifically 4G LTE Android. In terms of iPhone activations, for comparison’s sake, Verizon activated 3.1 million with only 21 percent of the iPhones supporting 4G LTE.
The carrier then gave more information on its aggressive LTE rollout across the United States (via Yahoo Finance | Earnings Call Transcript):
[sic] In terms of 4G LTE coverage we are by far the market leader. Our 4G LTE service is currently available in 419 markets covering more than 250 million tops roughly 80% of the U.S. population. As our TV commercial say, we have more 4G LTE coverage than all of our competitors networks combined. We will continue expanding our 4G LTE network with a goal of having a nationwide foot print similar to our 3G network next year.
Visit Verizon’s Investor Relations page for more specifics.
The press release is below.
Motorola made things official today for two new Droid RAZR’s hitting the United States. Following the introduction of the Droid RAZR M, Verizon announced today that it would get the Droid RAZR HD and RAZR Maxx HD starting Oct. 18. The 4.7-inch devices were unveiled in September at Motorola’s New York City launch event and landed in Canada yesterday, but today we get confirmation on pricing and availability for the U.S. market.
In case you forgot: both devices pack a 4.7-inch HD display, 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 8-megapixel camera, NFC, and 4G LTE. The Razr Maxx HD is identical to the Razr HD—apart from a bigger battery and double the internal storage (32GB). Both will ship with Android 4.0, but a Jelly Bean update is expected in the future. We have all the details in our coverage of the launch event.
As far as pricing goes…the HD will cost you $200 on a two-year contract, while the Maxx HD is $100 more.
The DROID RAZR HD will be available for $199.99 and the DROID RAZR MAXX HD will be $299.99, both with a new two-year contract. The DROID RAZR HD will be available in either Black or White and have 16 GB internal storage. The DROID RAZR MAXX HD will be available in Black and have 32 GB internal storage. The new smartphones will be available in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online on Oct. 18. Read more
J.D. Power and Associates is out with the second half of its 2012 “U.S. Wireless Network Quality Performance Study”, and Verizon once again come out on top for network performance in five of the six regions included in the report. Only second to U.S. Cellular in the North Central region, Verizon posted the best overall network performance among the other carriers in the remaining regions based on 10 key problem areas that could impact the customer experience.
For a 16th consecutive reporting period, Verizon Wireless ranks highest in the Northeast region. Verizon Wireless achieves fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, initial connections, transmission failures and late text messages, compared with the regional average. Verizon Wireless also ranks highest in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Southwest and West regions… U.S. Cellular ranks highest in the North Central region for a 14th consecutive reporting period. Compared with the regional average, U.S. Cellular has fewer customer-reported problems with dropped calls, failed initial connections, audio problems, failed voice mails and lost calls.
The study also covered the customer experience specifically for data-related problems. Not surprisingly, LTE device users experienced significantly less issues than older 3G devices like the iPhone:
The study finds that the number of data-related problems, especially those related to slow connection speeds, is significantly lower among customers using 4G LTE-enabled devices than among those using devices with older 3G/4G technology standards, such as WiMAX and HSPA+… For example, among customers with 4G LTE-enabled devices, the problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is 15 PP100, compared with the industry average of 20 PP100. Furthermore, the overall problem incidence for excessively slow mobile Web loading is even higher among customers with WiMAX and HSPA+ technology
Based on responses from over 26,000 U.S. wireless customers, the report explained how network performance was calculated: Read more
According to a report from AllThingsD, Verizon Wireless will soon change the way it charges customers for cellular/data plans in a major way. Rather than charging customers for phones calls or messages sent, the report claimed Verizon would charge “almost exclusively based on how much data” is consumed. The new “Share Everything” plans will also be the first in the United States that allows users to share their data with up to 10 devices through a single account:
The plans, known as “Share Everything,” allow users an unlimited number of calls and texts and also allow data usage to be pooled among up to 10 devices on one account. With the move, Verizon becomes the first U.S. carrier to offer the ability for customers to share a bucket of data across multiple devices.
AllThingsD noted that AT&T also has plans for shared data options, but it did not provide more details. As for Verizon’s new plans, which will apparently kick-in June 28, the report explained the cost of the data plan and pricing metrics based on a per-device fee. In other words, you will have to pay roughly $40 per smartphone ($10 per tablet), and then opt for either a $50 1GB data plan or a $100 10GB plan. While the report claimed the new pricing should not impact the cost of plans for users who continue consuming the same amount of data, it is clear that those signing a new plan for a single smartphone are getting a bit less for their money:
After being confirmed on Verizon Wireless’ Droid DOES page, we knew pretty much everything there is to know about the successor to HTC’s Droid Incredible 2— the Droid Incredible 4G. However, if you needed more confirmation, Big Red and HTC have officially announced the handset, revealing specs and all. The Droid Incredible 4G packs a 4-inch qHD Super LCD screen (960-by-540), 1.2GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 8-megapixel shooter, and VGA front-facing camera. As for software, the Incredible 4G features Android Ice Cream Sandwich, along with HTC’s custom Sense 4 on top, which is par for the course with smartphones out of the company. As for the release date, Verizon said “in the coming weeks,” and it will be priced at $299 (according to the Droid Does page from a few weeks ago). We will most likely hear more at this week’s CTIA conference, and you bet we will keep a look out. Who’s buying?