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Sprint announces second 4G Android phone

Aug 12, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Sprint announced that it will start selling the Samsung Epic 4G for $250 with rebate and contract on Aug. 31. The Samsung Epic 4G is one of several variations of Samsung's Galaxy S line of Android 2.1 smartphones, and offers a 1GHz Samsung “Hummingbird” system-on-chip, four-inch Super AMOLED display, a 4G radio, and a QWERTY keyboard.

Sprint rightfully claims that the Samsung Epic 4G is the only Galaxy S variant to offer a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and the only one to support a 4G network. Specifically, the device supports Sprint's WiMAX based, Clearwire network, now said to be available in 48 cities in the U.S. According to Sprint, the network provides estimated speeds of 3-6Mbps, compared to 600Kbps to 1.7Mbps for 3G (with which the phone is backwards-compatible).

The Samsung Epic 4G is also Samsung's first 4G phone, and Sprint's second 4G phone after the Android-based HTC Evo 4G. (The latter began receiving its Android 2.2 updates this week along with the original Motorola Droid.) Sprint says it plans to upgrade the Samsung Epic 4G to Android 2.2 "in the coming months."

Samsung Epic 4G

The Epic 4G was announced in late June along with the Verizon Fascinate and T-Mobile Vibrant, which are also based on the Galaxy S (pictured at right). Earlier that month, AT&T announced its own Galaxy S phone, the Samsung Captivate. Yet, the Epic 4G differs from these models in that it uses a Galaxy S Pro design that incorporates a QWERTY slider.

In the case of the Epic 4G, it also adds a 4G radio in addition to the standard 3G radio. Like other Galaxy S phones, the Epic 4G offers a mobile hotspot feature that shares bandwidth with up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices.

Few new hardware details have emerged since the announcement, mostly due to the fact that the phone hews so closely to the well-known Galaxy S. Like all the Galaxy S phones, the Epic 4G runs Android 2.1 on a 1GHz Samsung S5PC110 "Hummingbird" system-on-chip. We now know that the phone ships with a 16GB microSD card, expandable to 32GB. Internal memory specs do not appear to have been disclosed formally, but a leaked spec list shows 512MB RAM and 1GB internal flash.

Like its fellow Galaxy S variants, the Epic 4G features a four-inch Super AMOLED display with WVGA (800 x 480) resolution. Super AMOLED is said to be brighter, clearer, and less reflective than AMOLED, while reducing power consumption. The phone offers Swype virtual keyboard technology, as well as multi-touch pinch, long tap and zoom, and vertical and horizontal swiping touch effects, says Sprint.

Other common wireless features shared with the Galaxy S include 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, and GPS. There's a five-megapixel camera with autofocus, power LED flash, and 3x digital zoom. There is also said to be a separate, front-facing VGA videocam. The phone records and plays back DRM-free content at 720p at a frame rate of 30fps, says Sprint.

Samsung Epic 4G plays back 720p video at 30fps, says Sprint

A 3.5-millimeter headphone jack is offered, as well as microSD slot and a six-axis sensor, which combines the accelerometer and gyroscope, says Sprint. A digital compass, proximity sensor, and light sensor are also said to be supplied.

The Epic 4G measures 4.9 x 2.54 x 0.56 inches, and weighs 5.46 ounces, says Sprint. A removable 1500mAh Lithium (Li-on) battery is provided, although no battery life claims were listed.

Like the Galaxy S, the phone offers Samsung's social-networking app, called Samsung Social Hub. It also features Samsung's AllShare service, which wirelessly shares stored music, pictures, and HD video with other DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) certified home electronics.

When Samsung Media Hub launches on Samsung Epic 4G, the phone will also have access to the Media Hub's video store, offering movies and TV shows available for purchase or rental, says Sprint.

Running Android 2.1, the Epic 4G offers push email and integrated calendar services, including Exchange ActiveSync, Google, and Yahoo!. The phone is also loaded with Android Market, Visual Voicemail, as well as full support for Google Mobile Services, says Sprint.

Samsung and Sprint are touting the phone as a gaming platform, and they include an exclusive demo of Asphalt 5. Other software features are said to include the Qik video application for video chat service and live video sharing, as well as pre-integrated access to e-book downloads from Skiff, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo.

In early July, Samsung and Sprint announced the Samsung Intercept. This Android 2.1 handset is equipped with a 3G radio, a 3.2-inch screen, and a QWERTY keyboard, and sells for only $100 with a two-year contract.

Stated Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, "As we continue to lead the 4G revolution, we are proud to offer our customers two 4G smartphones, the Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot and several 4G USB modems to access the fast speeds on our 4G network in more than 48 cities today. 4G enhances entertainment, gaming and business applications."


The Samsung Epic 4G costs $250 with a new line or eligible upgrade, and a two-year service agreement, after a $100 mail-in rebate, says Sprint.

Reservations for purchase of the Samsung Epic 4G will be available here, beginning Friday, Aug. 13, "while supplies last," says Sprint. Reserved customers can complete their purchase beginning Aug. 31, and no later than 6 p.m. local time on Sept. 1. Customers can then go to a local Sprint Store for pick-up.

The Samsung Epic 4G will be generally available beginning Aug. 31 in all Sprint retail channels. The above link offers additional information and animated demos of the phone.

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