Sprint unleashes the HTC EVO Design 4G, available October 23rd for $100

That HTC EVO Design 4G leaked a couple months ago? Oh, it’s real — and Sprint’s finally ready to share its story with the world. The tale of the EVO Design 4G is simple enough: for a penny under $100, you can have a WiMAX-capable device with GSM roaming that features a 4-inch qHD (960 x 540) display, 1.2GHz Qualcomm MSM8655 CPU, Android 2.3 with HTC Sense UI, Mobile Hotspot, a 5MP rear camera with HD video recording (720p, we presume) and a 1.3MP front-facing cam. In summary, the Design 4G is basically the Hero S with WiMAX and global roaming capabilities. Look for this device to show up online and in stores on October 23rd, and look after the break for the press release.

Continue reading Sprint unleashes the HTC EVO Design 4G, available October 23rd for $100

Sprint unleashes the HTC EVO Design 4G, available October 23rd for $100 originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 19 Oct 2011 11:16:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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So Long, WiMax: Sprint Confirms LTE Rollout by 2013

The EVO 3D runs on Sprint’s WiMax network. Photo: Jon Snyder/Wired.com

Joining the likes of competitors AT&T and Verizon, Sprint will soon begin building its own 4G LTE network, essentially admitting its bet on the rival WiMax standard was a bust. The move, announced Friday, should provide Sprint subscribers with a greater choice of 4G devices in the future, since LTE has basically become the standard for 4G here in the U.S. and abroad.

Sprint, the nation’s third-largest carrier, plans to roll out its 4G LTE network on the 1900MHz spectrum by mid-2012, with complete build-out by the end of 2013. Sprint will begin launching up to 15 CDMA/LTE devices towards the middle of next year, but will also continue selling WiMax products through the end of that year. Sprint expects its 4G network to cover over 250 million people.

So far AT&T, Verizon, MetroPCS and LightSquared all currently utilize LTE technology in their 4G networks.

Sprint is calling the future-proofing of its network coverage “Network Vision.” “Our progress deploying Network Vision enables Sprint to extend and evolve our 4G leadership and to improve the experience for 3G customers,” Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a release.

Sprint was a key player in the 4G revolution. The company was the first to heavily invest in 4G and is also the majority shareholder in ClearWire, which has struggled to compete effectively with DSL and cable internet connections with its 4G WiMax network. Sprint began developing its fourth-generational network in 2008 and released one of the first 4G Android handsets, the HTC EVO, on its WiMax network in 2010.

At the time, the other major networks had not made commitments to either WiMax or LTE for their 4G networks. In March of that year, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse hinted at Sprint’s eventual move towards LTE, saying, “LTE will likely be the larger of the 4G standards.” In an effort to curb rumors that Sprint was going to switch to LTE, though, Hesse backtracked a few months later, saying, “Our 4G strategy is WiMAX, full stop!”

According to the International Telecommunications Union, WiMax is closer to 3G than what we refer to as 4G via LTE. The wireless broadband access industry developed WiMax, which is supported by the IEEE standards body, while LTE was developed by mobile companies. However, the speeds you can achieve with both types of networks are largely comparable.

“4G is a pure marketing term,” Gartner analyst Michael King says. “What T-Mobile calls 4G is essentially the same thing as AT&T’s 3G, from a technology standpoint.”

Verizon made a major push for 4G with its network infrastructure beginning in early 2011. AT&T began with a slight upgrade to HSPA+ for its “4G” network, but started rolling out its LTE network this summer in five major metropolitan areas.

T-Mobile still employs an HSPA+ network, which is largely considered “3.5G” rather than true 4G (more details can be found in Wired.com’s 4G explainer). So far, Verizon’s LTE network coverage and speeds have proven to consistently be the fastest among the nation’s four major carriers.

Beyond 2012, it is unclear if Sprint will continue to support both LTE and WiMax, or if the carrier will decide to just support LTE.

Sprint representative Kelly Schlageter said that “Sprint will continue to sell WiMAX devices with two-year contracts through 2012. We don’t have anything to announce beyond 2012 today.” For 3G, Sprint employs CDMA, and any part of the spectrum not used by iDEN is currently used for CDMA.

Clearwire, which Sprint has a 54 percent stake in, currently provides Sprint’s WiMax infrastructure. Some reports had indicated that Sprint might be trying to take over Clearwire, but today’s move makes it seem more likely that the relationship between the two companies may be strained. Sprint needs Clearwire’s support in order to roll out its LTE network.

Sprint does, however, have some help from another nationwide spectrum provider — LightSquared. The two signed a deal that gives Sprint access to its 1600 MHz LTE spectrum through 2015.

Sprint hasn’t been doing well revenue-wise since its merger with Nextel in 2005, and is making a big bet on the iPhone to help push it into profitability. Nextel’s old iDEN network has historically been a source of problems for Sprint, which could feasibly push legacy iDEN users off the 800 MHz frequency and use it instead for LTE, but this has not been confirmed.

The switch to LTE is expected to cost Sprint between $4 and $5 billion, though the investment could deliver over twice that in economic benefit to the company, if this bet pays off better than the money it put on WiMax did.

The cost of switching to LTE: Sprint to spend $10 billion over the next two years

Wonder just how much it costs to phase out iDEN and WiMAX networks and put all your eggs in one, CDMA / LTE-flavored basket? Well, Joe Euteneuer, Sprint’s CFO, just offered up a frank answer here at its “Strategy Update” event: $10 billion over the next two years. That’s a heckuva lot more than the $4 billion to $5 billion Wall Street was expecting, but Euteneuer assured all the suited-up financial analysts in the room that the company should save $10 billion to $11 billion through 2017 (a figure widely reported before today), with $4 billion of that resulting from not having to maintain the ‘ol ball and chain iDEN network anymore. Now it’s true, we’re a minority in this meeting of industry analysts, but you don’t need to be a banker to understand that’s one telling figure: clearly, the company’s betting its future not just on the (CDMA!) iPhone, but LTE’s brand of 4G.

The cost of switching to LTE: Sprint to spend $10 billion over the next two years originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 12:17:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sprint’s LTE plans detailed: phones, tablets and modems coming by 2012

If you were holding out hope that Tuesday’s Apple announcement would be trumped by an exclusive iPhone 5 on Sprint, prepare to be disappointed. The company’s confirmed that no new handsets would be shown off at its Strategy Event today. Instead, the carrier is focusing on how it intends to bundle all of those separate radios — CDMA, LTE, WiMAX — into a future device line up. Emphasizing the need for an enhanced user experience over 4G technology marketing, the operator stressed a commitment to supporting existing WiMAX subs. Dual-mode CDMA / LTE products are set to launch in the middle of next year, with tablets, smartphones and modems across both the high-end and mid-range to be on offer. Motorola’s Sanjay Jha appeared in a taped segment to confirm his company’s involvement in the production of these 3G/4G products. Of course, Sprint plans to support current CDMA and WiMAX products, offering them for sale throughout 2012. As for Direct Connect, three of those Push-to-Talk handsets will hit the carrier in the last quarter of 2011, with additional devices planned for 2012.

Sprint’s LTE plans detailed: phones, tablets and modems coming by 2012 originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 11:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sprint Is Ditching 4G WiMax for 4G LTE: What It Means for You

So! Sprint just made it official that they will be rolling out 4G LTE, and basically slowly backing away from their current 4G network, WiMax. What does that mean for you? More »

Sprint converts its network to LTE, plans ‘aggressive rollout’ to be completed by 2013

We knew more or less that an announcement of this sort was coming. Back in July, Dan Hesse had teased us face-to-face with the promise of a “great story this fall around 4G,” and now the time to tell that tale has arrived. At its strategy event today, Sprint finally went public with plans to “simplify its network” by converting its 1900MHz holdings and LightSquared’s 1600MHz spectrum (“pending FCC approval”) to LTE, an industry favorite. Helping the operator make that transition is the swath of 800MHz spectrum it reclaimed from the, now defunct, iDEN push-to-talk network — which had been a drain on the company’s resources. This spectrum, acquired from Nextel, will be phased out by mid-2013 and rolled into LTE. The company plans for a rapid deployment of this new 4G network, with the first LTE markets and handsets to hit in mid-2012, and the full rollout mostly completed by 2013. Current subscribers signed up for WiMAX plans won’t have to worry as their devices will continue to be supported throughout 2012.

Beginning tomorrow, Sprint’s consolidating its 4G LTE (including LightSquared), 3G and Direct Connect networks into one single architecture. All the major technical milestones, such as test calls and field integration, have cleared their hurdles and work on over 22,000 cell sites are currently in process. Samsung, Alcatel Lucent and Ericsson have partnered with Sprint to install multimode 3G and 4G base stations to handle the network’s future traffic, essential for deploying the multitude of frequencies required by hosted devices. Prospective iPhone 4S users on the network will be able to take advantage of better signal strength and improved voice service as Sprint intends to also offload the latter onto 800MHz.

Expect a steep “reduction in roaming costs” and deeper signal penetration throughout the operator’s expanding national footprint over the course of the next two years. Naturally, LTE speeds on this new network will be significantly improved over the currently in-use WiMAX, and a planned implementation of WiFi offloading should help to cut congestion by 20 percent. By the end of next year, Sprint aims to have a combined WiMAX/LTE population coverage of 176 million — with 123 million covered by LTE and 76 million overlapping both. When the network build-out is nearly complete in 2013, the company should have over 250 million blanketed in LTE, far outstripping the stagnant 120 million served by WiMAX.

Sprint converts its network to LTE, plans ‘aggressive rollout’ to be completed by 2013 originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 09:58:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WSJ: Sprint places $20 billion order for next iPhone, hinges company future on Apple’s handset?

Oh, iFaithful, your newest Apple phone(s) are only a day away. Which is even more reason to hunker down into this latest chunk of pre-announcement gossip. According to information obtained by the Wall Street Journal, Sprint’s betting the farm on a 30 million-plus order of next-generation iPhones to put it on an even battle ground with heavyweight rivals AT&T and Verizon. The cost of this loss-absorbing gamble? That would be about $20 billion, with the Hesse-led co. subsidizing the $500 cost of each handset. For the third place operator it’s matter of do-or-die, as there really isn’t an alternative to the critically-praised, Jony Ive-designed handset that set off this smartphone race. Hesse’s purported admission to the company’s board that customer churn is directly linked to its iPhone omission only serves to underscore the uncomfortable plight his company faces. It remains to be seen if Sprint can convert its base of 52 million subscribers (mostly pre-paid) into the contracted customers it needs to stay financially afloat. While an iPhone on Sprint certainly seems a given, it’s unclear whether this next device will opt for a WiMAX or LTE radio.

WSJ: Sprint places $20 billion order for next iPhone, hinges company future on Apple’s handset? originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 03 Oct 2011 15:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mobile Miscellany: week of September 26, 2011

This week was packed with news on the mobile front, so it was easy to miss a few stories here and there. Here’s some of the other stuff that happened in the wide world of wireless for the week of September 26, 2011:

  • Last week we heard the rumor that Sprint would be launching the BlackBerry Curve 9350 on October 2nd, and we’ve finally received the official confirmation. The device will be hitting stores tomorrow for $80 with a two-year contract. [PhoneArena]
  • The Motorola Photon WiMAX, referred to as the Photon 4G in the US, is now making its way to Japan as KDDI announced the launch of the device this past Monday. [Motorola]
  • Verizon Wireless launched the Pantech Jest 2 this week, which is a feature phone with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. [Verizon Wireless]
  • The Samsung Galaxy Y is now listed as “coming soon” on O2’s website, which makes it the second carrier to announce upcoming availability in the UK. The actual date of release, however, is still unofficial. [O2]
  • Softbank (Japan) looks ready to land the ZTE Lord V882, which appears to be an Android device running on Gingerbread, and comes packed with a 1GHz CPU, 512MB of RAM, 3.8-inch LCD at WVGA resolution and a 5MP camera. [LandofDroid]
  • NTT DoCoMo and Orange have teamed up to offer the Sharp AQUOS SH80F, which features dual 8MP stereoscopic cameras and claims to be the world’s first Android device capable of converting 2D content into 3D in real time. It’ll first be launched in France on October 6th and will follow to other European and Asian countries shortly after. [Softpedia]
  • Maybe Microsoft Canada just assumed nobody actually reads terms and conditions, because the company outed the names of a few upcoming Windows Phones in the T&C for a developer contest: the Nokia Sabre and a duo of Samsungs named the Yukon and Wembley. The Nokia Searay was also named in the list, indicating the Sabre is a second device running on Mango. [Nokia HDBlog (translated)]
  • In preparation for its Windows Phone debut, Nokia is also rumored to be featuring a new voice navigation system with 3D maps, according to some leaked marketing materials. [WinRumors]
  • Here’s a rendering of the HTC EVO Design 4G, also known as the Kingdom or Hero S. [Pocketnow]
  • Samsung may have a midrange device coming soon to AT&T’s lineup as a complement to the Galaxy S II. We’ve already seen the I857 pass through the FCC and show up in a leaked roadmap, and now it appears to have been dubbed the Doubletime, according to uncovered Cellebrite records. [Pocketnow]
  • Also appearing in Cellebrite records are the HTC Vigor (PH98100), Motorola Droid HD (XT912), and the Samsung Nexus Prime (SCH-i515). [Droid-Life]

Mobile Miscellany: week of September 26, 2011 originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 01 Oct 2011 11:01:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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ASUS TOUGH 7-inch Honeycomb tablet lands in Japan ready for some corporate abuse

Not content with offering up merely modular Android tablets, ASUS has revealed a new seven-inch tablet that’s water and dust resistant — perfect for a spot of bath-time browsing or… desert rallying. The ASUS TOUGH-ETBW11AA has a rubberized bezel and strips across the back, contributing to the substantial 22.2mm profile, but that hefty frame can survive drops from the heady height of 76cm. Aside from its tough-guy credentials, there’s a 1280 x 800 screen, five megapixel camera, Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz processor, WiMAX connection and the staple WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS medley. It comes with 16GB of well-protected storage, but there’s room for more via microSD. For those seeking a slate that’ll survive the bumps and scrapes of the business world — and not look ridiculous — it’ll be available to enterprise customers of Japanese carrier KDDI this November. No news yet on whether it’ll canoe its way across from the Land of the Rising Sun, but we can give you a few more photos of the rough and tumble tablet after the break.

[Image credit: Keitai Watch]

Continue reading ASUS TOUGH 7-inch Honeycomb tablet lands in Japan ready for some corporate abuse

ASUS TOUGH 7-inch Honeycomb tablet lands in Japan ready for some corporate abuse originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 28 Sep 2011 13:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sprint’s LTE build out already underway, new 4G network to launch first half 2012?

At this point, it’s pretty much an open secret that Sprint needs to hitch its ride to LTE to stay in the wireless game. CNET caught wind of the operator’s intended 4G plans ahead of its scheduled October strategy announcement — an event at which many in the industry expect Sprint to lay out its LTE cards. According to the report, the Hesse-led network’s been hard at work installing the necessary infrastructure to convert to its towers to FD-LTE, which is the same flavor of LTE as Verizon and future partner LightSquared. Using the iDEN spectrum it acquired from its Nextel purchase, Sprint reportedly plans to set up 4G shop on those radio waves, and make use of current WiMAX provider Clearwire’s proposed switch to TD-LTE by incorporating chipsets in future phones that accommodate both frequencies. The network changeover, rumored to cost Sprint somewhere in the range of $4 – $5 billion, should get carried out over the next five years, laying the groundwork for a true three-way 4G race.

Sprint’s LTE build out already underway, new 4G network to launch first half 2012? originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 27 Sep 2011 11:39:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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