In this episode we review the Samsung SCH-LC11 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot. The SCH-LC11 is available from Verizon Wireless, and runs on their 4G LTE network, and also provides a fallback to 3G as well. You can connect up to 5 different devices (laptops, smartphones, and anything else that supports Wi-Fi) to it, all sharing the super-fast 4G connection. ; We also perform a speed test, showing the difference between 3G speeds on an iPhone, versus the iPhone connected to the 4G hotspot over Wi-Fi.
More Apple rumors for you to chew on today! A new research note from Jefferies & Co analyst Peter Misek suggests that Apple isn't going to be performing a significant upgrade to the connection capabilities of its new, to-be-released iPhone 5—namely, no 4G LTE support.
Whenever the next version of Apple's smartphone hits the market—we're already nearing the one-year anniversary of the iPhone 4's launch with no hint of a new product in sight—Misek suggests that the device will only have incremental upgrades compared to the iPhone 4's specifications. Heck, it's practically keeping the same name.
"We believe the likelihood of the iPhone 5 launch in September including LTE is now remote," wrote Misek in a research note on May 13. "According to our industry checks, the device should be called iPhone 4S and include minor cosmetic changes, better cameras, A5 dual-core processor, and HSPA+ support."
The bigger news on Apple's side is Misek's suggestion that the company will be pursuing an expanded carrier lineup for its iPhones. His "industry checks" indicate that Apple will be launching the iPhone on both Sprint and T-Mobile in time for the holidays—remember, although the latter is in the process of being purchased by AT&T, T-Mobile currently remains a separate company from the larger carrier. In other words, no iPhone yet.
Verizon customers now have two 4G Android smartphones to choose from: the HTC Thunderbolt, and the $299.99 Samsung Droid Charge, which is Samsung's first LTE device, and first officially designated Droid device for Verizon. The two cell phones are pretty similar, but not identical. While the HTC Thunderbolt retains a slight edge, you'll be thrilled with either device.
For a limited time, Amazon has slashed the price on the HTC Thunderbolt 4G for new Verizon Wireless customers. The phone, the first on Verizon's LTE network, has been reduced to $129.99 from the usual price of $249.99.
The offer is only good for those new to Verizon, and they must sign a two-year contract. Existing customers looking to upgrade will have to cough up $199.99 for the smartphone.
Verizon sold has sold 260,000 of the Thunderbolt since it launched on March 17, president and CEO of Verizon Telecom and Business Fran Shammo said in a Thursday earnings call. The company has also sold another 250,000 4G LTE Internet devices, Shammo also said.
Amazon's offer is good until midnight pacific time on Monday.
Read More | HTC Thunderbolt sale
This will be the second LTE phone on Verizon's network, following the HTC Thunderbolt. The Droid Charge will be running Android 2.2 and powered by a 1-GHz processor. It will feature a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED screen, as well as an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera with LED flash, and a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for photos and video chatting.
The Droid Charge's Web browser will support Adobe Flash, and the phone will come loaded with Samsung Media Hub, which features movies and televisions shows to rent or buy.
Verizon claims that users can expect download speeds of 5 – 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 – 5 Mbps when connected to the 4G LTE network. The Droid Charge will also feature a mobile hotspot mode that allows up to 10 Wi-Fi enabled devices to tap into those 4G speeds, or up to five devices to connect when on the 3G network. Even better, Verizon is including the mobile hotspot feature at no additional cost for a limited time.
The Droid Charge will be available in Verizon stores and online for $299.99 with a new two-year contract. Verizon is also offering a $25 credit to the Samsung Media Hub for users purchasing the phone.
Gear Live has tested a number of devices on Verizon's 4G LTE network, and it is indeed fast. We will soon be testing the Droid Charge and will post a full review.
The HTC Thunderbolt is the world's first 4G LTE smartphone. It's available on Verizon Wireless in the US, and also acts as a 4G mobile hotspot, allowing you to connect up to 5 Wi-Fi devices to the 4G signal. It ships with Android 2.2, sports a 4.3-inch display, and even has a kickstand around back. In this video we give you a look at the Thunderbolt, perform a speed test, and also do a speed test comparison with an iPhone 4 on AT&T.
As you'll see, the device is ridiculously fast, especially when compared against an AT&T 3G smartphone like the iPhone 4. The screen looks great, and the phone feels good in your hand. If you're a Verizon Wireless customer, this is definitely one to consider, as long as you have a charger in the car and/or at the office, as this thing will eat through a battery like it's nothing. Check the video for the full scoop.
The image above is the result of a speed test using the HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon's 4G LTE network in Seattle. Techinically, Gear Live HQ is about a 20 minute drive north of Seattle, so even well outside the border of the metropolitan area, you still see speeds like this. Now, obviously Verizon isn't able to deliver this kind of speed everywhere that LTE is deployed, and as more devices are sold and the network gets more saturated, things will even out...but it shows the obvious potential that LTE has over other 4G technologies like WiMax. Now you can see why AT&T made the decision to buy T-Mobile. They have no way of competing with what Verizon is rolling out currently.
Verizon launched its LTE network in December with 39 markets, and unveiled 49 more at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, so Tuesday's announcement will bring the total number of cities with LTE access to 147 by the end of the year.
"Aggressively expanding this powerful network beyond major metro areas reflects the reality that the 4G LTE ecosystem is growing quickly," David Small, chief technical officer for Verizon, said in a statement. "Our commitment to reach deep into medium-sized cities and smaller communities by the end of 2011 means the power of 4G LTE can be harnessed and provide advanced services to law enforcement, healthcare workers, educators, and other professionals, as well as to individual consumers, sooner than many thought possible."
In our tests, I got eight hours of 3G talk time with the Thunderbolt, six hours of video playback time, and only 2.5 hours of LTE streaming. So what's an Internet fan to do?
HTC and Verizon will offer a very high-capacity extended battery, the companies told me. The 2750 mAh battery is nearly twice the capacity of the Thunderbolt's built-in 1400 mAh unit. The big battery will cost $49.99 and will be available very soon, said Pat Bucci, Verizon's director of accessory products.
The new battery makes the phone about an ounce heavier than its existing 6.5 ounces, and it comes with a new back that makes the phone deeper as well, Bucci said.
"We want customers who are power users, that are going to have the hotspot on all day, to just go," he said.
Verizon Wireless will likely do away with its unlimited data plan and switch to tiered pricing sometime this summer, Fran Shammo, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Telecom and Business, said Tuesday.
Verizon announced in January that it would ditch its 150MB $15 monthly plan and require new smartphone users to subscribe to its $30 unlimited plan. That move, announced several days before Verizon unveiled its version of the iPhone, was intended to attract new customers to Verizon and the iPhone, Shammo said.
Verizon opted for the $30 plan because "we didn't really want to put up a barrier to anybody who wanted to come over and experience the Verizon Wireless network," Shammo said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco. "So we felt that it was important to go out at the $30."
Everybody knew, however, that that was not a long-term strategy, Shammo said. "We're going to move to a tiered pricing," which will probably happen "in the mid-summer timeframe."
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