In this edition of Unboxing Live, we open up the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone to be released that runs Android 4.0, also known as Ice Cream Sandwich. This smartphone supports Verizon Wireless 4G LTE, allowing for super-fast mobile broadband, and has a 4.65-inch Super AMOLED display. Get a look at it here in the unboxing, and then when you're ready, be sure to check out our full Galaxy Nexus review, as well as our Galaxy Nexus unboxing gallery.
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Samsung has announced that its Galaxy Note mini-tablet/super-big phone will officially be coming to AT&T in the near future. The Galaxy Note sports a 5.3-inch 800x1280 Super AMOLED Plus display, runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and even includes a fancy stylus (though, they call it an S-pen.) The device will run on AT&T's newly-launched 4G LTE network. We're still waiting on a shipping date, but hey, at least it's confirmed now!
Today AT&T is pushing forward with its 4G LTE deployment, lighting up 11 new markets with super-fast mobile broadband. Cities included in this rollout, which just so happens to double AT&T's LTE footprint, include New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Boston. This brings its number of LTE-covered markets to 26, reaching 76 million people. That sounds great, but it's still nowhere near Verizon's 200 million people covered by its own 4G LTE network. Also, devices. AT&T is lacking in 4G devices. However, that's nothing that a little CES love can't fix next week.
Read More | AT&T
How much does Android 4.0 mean to you? How much do you need to have it right now? Because that's the dilemma with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus smartphone ($299-$649). Overall it's not quite as good a phone as the Motorola Droid RAZR ($299). But right now, it's the only phone running Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS), and that's the future.
In many ways, this is the ultimate early adopter phone. The phone itself isn't perfect; typically, Nexus phones aren't the best hardware on the market. But the software takes a major leap forward, with everything from a better Gmail experience to a faster browser and the ability to put folders on your home screens. Do you need that right now? Then yes, you need the Nexus. Why else might you want to jump on board the latest flagship Google device? Hit the link and follow us through our full Galaxy Nexus review for the answers.
The LG Nitro HD ($249.99 with two-year contract) is the third smartphone to tap into AT&T's emerging 4G LTE network and (after the HTC Rezound) the second phone available in the U.S. to feature a 720p display. That display looks absolutely dazzling in person and the Nitro is a performance speed demon. We're leaving our Editors' Choice with the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket ($249.99) for its better signal strength and data speeds, but make no mistake: Either phone is a great choice.
Design, Screen, Call Quality, and Data Speeds
The Nitro HD looks and feels a a lot like the Skyrocket. It measures 5.27 by 2.67 by .4 inches (HWD) and weighs 4.5 ounces. It's made entirely of matte black plastic and features a textured back panel. While the look is somewhat generic, that all seems irrelevant once you feast your eyes on the Nitro's glorious, 4.5-inch 720-by-1280 AH-IPS (Advanced High-Performance In-Plane Switching) display. It's a real stunner. At 329 ppi, it has even greater pixel density than the Apple iPhone 4S ($199, 4.5 stars), with its 326 ppi Retina Display. For further comparison, a device like the Motorola Droid RAZR ($299.99, 4.5 stars), which features a 4.3-inch qHD display, has 256 ppi.
Our 2011 Holiday Gift Guide tries to hit you with gift recommendations at all different price points, and this one may be the least expensive. Radio Shack is selling a bunch of 4G Android smartphones for free, with two-year contract, this holiday season. You can get devices like the Samsung Stratosphere for Verizon, Samsung Infuse 4G for AT&T, and the HTC EVO Design 4G for Sprint. All of these devices support faster data speeds, and at a price of free, they're a tremendous deal.
Motorola has ressurrected the RAZR from the dead, slapped the Droid branding on it, and has come up with a 7.1mm thin powerhouse. Appropriately called the Droid RAZR, the smartphone has a Gorilla Glass covered 4.3-inch qHD Super AMOLED display and a body made of Kevlar, making it lightweight, water-resistant, and durable. On the inside you've got a dual-core 1.2GHz TI OMAP4430 chip, 8 megapixel camera that records 1080p video, 1 GB RAM, and 16 GB flash storage onboard (and another 16 GB on the included microSD card.) It runs on Verizon's 4G LTE network. so you know, it's fast. We'll be getting a review up soon, but in the meantime, be sure to peep our Droid RAZR unboxing gallery first!
Gallery: Motorola Droid RAZR unboxing gallery
Verizon will publish an API that could allow consumers to "turbocharge" the network bandwidth their smartphone apps use for a small fee, executives said Tuesday.
Verizon anticipates that a customer running an app on a smartphone will have the option to dynamically snatch more bandwidth for that app, if network congestion slows it down, said Hugh Fletcher, associate director for technology in Verizon's Product Development and Technology team. The app, however, must be running what Verizon referred to as the network optimization API it is currently developing, and hopes to publish by the third quarter of 2012.
Users could have the option to pay for the extra bandwidth via a separate microtransaction API Verizon is developing and hopes to have in place by the end of 2012, Fletcher said.
Verizon has indicated that it plans a residential LTE broadband service that could roll out in the fourth quarter, a fixed antenna that would challenge AT&T, Comcast and others for a home broadband connection.
Verizon also reiterated that it plans to concentrate its FiOS investments in areas it already serves.
Verizon executives said that a national rollout of a fixed broadband LTE voice and data package could be based on the "cantenna," a fixed antenna that it has already deployed with DirecTV, according to comments made by Francis J. Shammo, Verizon's chief financial officer, during Verizon's earnings call last Friday.
While Verizon executives did not state that the company was winding down its residential fiber optic (FiOS) service, executives gave several hints that geographic expansion was not in the cards. Verizon already serves 16.27 million premises in its 12-state wireline service territory, representatives said via email, mostly on the East Coast. But Verizon also began indicating in 2010 that it was going to focus its FiOS investments on the markets it already serves, last year.
The two companies lifted the curtain on the OS affectionately known as Ice Cream Sandwich and the Galaxy Nexus smartphone that will be the first to run it in Hong Kong late Tuesday evening (promotional video after the break.) Google said Android 4.0 would be immediately available to developers. Samsung will begin shipping the Galaxy Nexus worldwide in November.
And here's what you need to know about Samsung's Galaxy Nexus:
A slim and curvy design. The Galaxy Nexus is 8.94 millimeters thin with a 4.29-millimeter bezel and a wider screen than on earlier Samsung smartphones that's achieved "without the phone feeling any thicker in your hand," according to the company. The next-gen handset has a curved back that's contoured for a "softer, more natural look and feel," while the buttonless design and slip-resistant hyperskin backing are also highlights.
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