In the past couple of years, as 3G has become pervasive, cellphone providers haven't been able to rely on the term anymore in marketing ads. So it's no surprise that as soon as newer technologies get introduced, they start touting that they are now offering the next step above that, 4G. The problem is that whether it's Sprint offering WiMax, or Verizon offering LTE, these new technologies simply aren't 4G. The actual definition of 4G is something that none of the wireless companies can define, as that job belongs to the International Communications Union (ITU)--and according to them, none of the carriers met the requirements to really be called 4G. In fact, the ITU hadn't even provided a clear, final decision as to what could and could not be called 4G. This left customers confused as to who had the actual faster networks.
Now, it seems that the ITU has decided to back down, and cave to the various network providers. Over the weekend, the organization released a statement saying "As the most advanced technologies currently defined for global wireless mobile broadband communications, IMT-Advanced is considered as '4G,' although it is recognized that this term, while undefined, may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed." Once again, it seems they do their best to remain unclear and confusing, but what did change is that now when a Sprint, T-Mobile or Verizon ad claims their 4G speed, they will actually be accurate. So a few days ago, no one had 4G in North America--now almost everyone does.
Read More | ITU
The Samsung Epic 4G is the second phone from Sprint to take advantage of their speedier 4G service, the original being the EVO 4G. The Epic 4G is part of Samsung’s Galaxy S line of Android smartphones, although visually it’s a departure from others like the Samsung Captivate, Fascinate, and Vibrant from other carriers. You do still get the TouchWiz 3.0 interface, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, and the 4-inch Super AMOLED display. So what’s different, aside from the phone being able to access Sprint’s 4G network? Well, it’s a Galaxy S phone with a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard. So, is it worth your time—and more importantly—your money? We’ve got our full review for you, so click on through.
Over at CTIA, Sprint just dropped the big announcement that we knew was coming, they will be launching the first 4G smartphone - the HTC EVO 4G - and they will be doing it “this summer.” The EVO 4G runs Android 2.1, and has a gorgeous 480x800 4.3-inch TFT LCD display and is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon QSD8650 processor and 512MB of RAM. Onboard memory isn’t much to write home about at 1GB, but seriously, that is the only “flaw” we can find with the initial look at this device, if you want to even call it that. I mean, it ships with an 8GB microSD card, and is upgradeable to 32GB. Still, built-in is always nice.
Wanna talk about some of the more exciting stuff? Well, we’ve got an 8 megapixel camera on the back, which can shoot 720p HD video, as well as a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. You know, the one we’ve been waiting for on the iPhone? Expect to be able to do video chatting on the EVO 4G. Also, expect to be able to view the content stored on it on a larger display, since this thing rocks HDMI out. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi support and an 8GB microSD card round things out, so as you can see, this thing is packed. Oh, and let’s not forget that whole 4G thing.
The HTC EVO 4G will be the first device outside of AT&T that will allow for both voice and data to be used at the same time, thanks to the phone running both EV-DO Rev. A and WiMAX alongside a CDMA antenna. Even cooler, in our opinion, is that this device acts similar to a MiFi or Overdrive device, where it becomes a mobile hotspot that allows you to share your 4G connection with your other devices wirelessly. However, rather than being limited to five connections, the EVO 4G can give that good 4G Internet lovin’ to 8 devices at once.
Sprint knows that those picking up a 4G device are going to expect a lot more from their connection their phones that are stuck on 3G, and they demo’d a few scenarios to show that they are serious. You can stream high definition content to and from the device, take pictures and stream them anywhere, get instant and live search results with Google Goggles, and much more.
Despite the torrent of info that Sprint provided as it pertained to the HTC EVO 4G, they did neglect to provide a solid release date, as well as the price of both the EVO 4G itself, or the associated 4G data plan.
We caught up with Clear, who had just launched their new 27-city 4G mobile broadband network, at CES 2010’s It Won’t Stay in Vegas blogger party. We talk a bit about what 4G is, why it’s better (way better) than 3G, and also give you a look at the technology in action. Clear has partnered with Sprint on the rollout of 4G, so all that 4G that Sprint has been talking about recently? That’s thanks to the efforts of what Clear (formerly known as ClearWire) has been doing in the 4G space.
A big thank you to Bing for sponsoring Gear Live’s CES 2010 coverage.
At CES, Samsung gave us a look at a fairly neat product from that supports 4G WiMax technology. The Samsing SPH-P9200 is available in Korea where WiMax is fully available. Take a look at it - it is a UMPC that folds up to about the size of 2 decks of cards, and when unfolded, has a full keyboard. It runs a full version of WIndows XP, and gives you Internet anywhere (that WiMax is available.) It sports a 5” touch screen, and a 30GB hard drive.
We also got a look at the Samsung Giorgio Armani cell phone. While the Samsung Giorgio Armani phone might be light on high tech features, it is rich in style and does support hepatic feedback. Every time a positive button press is registered the phone vibrates slightly to communicate with the user and confirm the users action. Not yet available in the States, but with new carrier agreements being announced right and left, it wouldn’t surprise us if it lands on Western shores sooner rather than later.