Sprint Nextel Corp. has unveiled its second mobile WiMax-capable smartphone -- the Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Epic 4G -- as the carrier launches new markets using the broadband wireless technology in Salt Lake City, St. Louis, and Richmond, Va.
The Samsung Epic sports many of the features seen on other hot smartphones of the summer -- like the Apple Inc. iPhone 4, High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) EVO, and Motorola Inc. Droid X -- including a fast processor, a large high-resolution display, and support for better mobile video recordings. See this fact sheet from Sprint for a full roundup of features.
The difference from many other smartphones is that the Samsung is only the second device that can roam across Sprint's faster proto-4G service, where it is available, and 3G and WiFi local area networks. Sprint rides on the mobile WiMax network from Clearwire LLC in 36 markets across the US for its "4G" service. The WiMax network can deliver average download speeds between 3 Mbit/s and 6 Mbit/s and bursts of up to 10 Mbit/s, compared to the average download speeds of of 600 kbit/s to 1.4 Mbit/s over Sprint's 3G network. (See Clearwire Promises WiMax Smartphones .)
The Samsung will follow HTC's popular EVO 4G smartphone onto the Sprint network. The third-largest carrier in the US is trying to push its time advantage, with faster broadband technology on smartphones, over Verizon Wireless and other rivals with WiMax launches. Verizon is expecting to have its first smartphones supporting its coming Long Term Evolution (LTE) network available in the first half of 2011. (See Verizon Says LTE Will Match 3G Footprint in 2013 and Sprint's EVO Launch Creates Buzz & Mixed Crowds.)
The Sprint launch marks the start of a big week for Samsung, which is starting a push for a new series of "Galaxy S" smartphones based on the Android open-source in the US. As well as the Sprint Galaxy S Epic phone, Samsung has today announced a "Vibrant" Android phone based on the platform for T-Mobile USA.
Sprint hasn't said when the Samsung phone will be available or how much it will cost yet; it has set up a site to pre-register for information.
â€” Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile