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Pricey Droid Charge phone unveiled by Verizon, Samsung

Apr 22, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Verizon Wireless will begin selling a 4G LTE-ready 4.3-inch “Droid Charge by Samsung” Android phone on April 28 for a whopping $300 plus contract. Meanwhile, Verizon says the 4G- and Android-ready HTC Thunderbolt has been a hot seller, and Motorola has confirmed that the Verizon launch of its Droid Bionic phone will be delayed until summer.

The Droid Charge is equipped with a 1GHz processor and offers Samsung's latest 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display, which excels at "brightness, clarity, and outdoor visibility," says Verizon. The phone's 4G LTE radio supports 5-12Mbps download speeds and 2-5Mbps upload speeds, says the carrier.

All that 4G bandwidth can be shared with up to 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices, or up to five devices when using a 3G connection, says Verizon. For a limited time this Mobile Hotspot feature is offered free along with a $30 per month 4G plan, says the carrier.

Droid Charge by Samsung

(Click to enlarge)

The Droid Charge also supplies a rear-facing eight-megapixel camera with LED flash, which further helps to explain the high $300 pricetag. There's also a front-facing 1.3-megapixel camera, says Verizon.

No other hardware features were detailed, but the Charge is said to run Android 2.2 along with Google Mobile Services including Gmail, YouTube, Google Talk, Google Search, Google Maps, and Android Market. The Charge offers an HTML 5 web browser, virtual QWERTY keyboard with Swype, and Samsung Media Hub, and is compatible with Adobe Flash Player, says the carrier.

According to a favorable (but not particularly detailed) hands-on with a Droid Charge story by AndroidandMe posted on April 15, the phone offers the usual Samsung Hummingbird processor found on Galaxy S phones. The story also says the phone's battery life is "terrific," compared to the HTC Thunderbolt. Laptop, meanwhile, says the Droid Charge offers a 1600mAh battery compared to the Thunderbolt's 1400mAh model.

Thunderbolt thrives on Verizon, goes on sale for $130

On April 21, Verizon announced the fiscal results of its most recent quarter, with revenue of $26.99 billion — up 0.3 percent from a year ago, according to our sister publication eWEEK. Verizon also announced the addition of 906,000 wireless subscribers during the quarter. 

According to Verizon, 54 percent of its first quarter sales came from just two phones, the iPhone 4 and the Android-based HTC Thunderbolt (pictured). The iPhone got the lion's share of that total, with some two million phones sold, but Verizon said it sold some 260,000 Thunderbolts since its launch March 17, putting it in second place.

Although the Thunderbolt appears to match the Droid Charge on major features, including a 1GHz processor, 4.3-inch display, 4G LTE capability, and eight-megapixel camera, the phone costs $50 less at $250. A more apt comparison, of course, will await a full spec list from Verizon, as well as hands-on reviews.

Meanwhile, Amazon is offering a deal on the Thunderbolt through April 25, selling it for only $130 with a two-year contract, reports eWEEK. However, the deal is only good for customers who are new to Verizon, says the story.

Motorola confirms Droid Bionic delay

Motorola Mobility's dual-core, Nvidia Tegra 2-based Droid Bionic, was supposed to ship in the second quarter on Verizon. However, earlier this week, Motorola confirmed rumors that the Bionic (pictured below, left) will be on hold until summer, says a third eWEEK report.

"Based on compelling feedback since the show, we are incorporating several enhancements to make this an even better consumer experience," Motorola said in a statement. "This includes expanded features, functionality and an improved form factor."

eWEEK's Clint Boulton speculated that Motorola may have reconsidered its timing due to the success of HTC's Thunderbolt and the expected arrival of the iPhone 5 in June. Another possibility, he writes, is that the phone is too similar to the existing Motorola Atrix 4G, available on AT&T, or that Motorola may want to add an NFC chip and upgrade the phone to Android 2.3.

Here are two more speculations: First, prices for phone and tablet components have risen due to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Second, there is some evidence that Motorola may have rushed its Xoom tablet and Atrix 4G to market prematurely, and for its next major product, it wants to make sure all the wrinkles have been ironed out.


The Droid Charge by Samsung will be available for $300 with a new two-year customer agreement on April 28, says Verizon. Droid Charge customers must subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan, starting at $40 per month, and a 4G LTE data package, starting at $30 a month. (In comparison with the $1,400 plus you'll spend on network services, that $300 doesn't look so huge after all.)

To sign up for availability notification, potential buyers can go to Verizon's Droid Charge page.

Verizon also today launched a Droid Charge Scavenger Hunt, offering online clues to find hidden locations in one of 16 U.S. cities, in order to win a free Droid Charge. The Scavenger Hunt page may be found here.

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