Available from June, no pricing details available yet
Following T-Mobile's announcement yesterday, Sprint-based MVNOs Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have confirmed that they'll offer a 4G LTE-capable Galaxy S3 from next month. The device will run on Sprint's 4G LTE network, which will be available to Virgin and Boost customers in some 88 markets.
Pricing for the phone itself remains up in the air, but you'll get the usual range of price plan options from Boost and Virgin. On the Boost Mobile side, you've got the Android Monthly plan with shrinking payments, starting at $55 per month, going down to $40 in $5 increments. That gets you unlimited calls, texts and web use. With Virgin Mobile, you've got monthly no-contract plans starting at $35 per month, which give you unlimited messaging and data.
Besides the changes in availability and price, this device is essentially the same Sprint Galaxy S3 we've gotten to know over the past year -- 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU, 2GB of RAM, 720p SuperAMOLED display and 8-megapixel rear camera. On the software side, you've got TouchWiz'd Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean out of the box.
We're ready to go on the official first day of CTIA 2013, and the events kick off with the first of three keynote sessions. It is set to run from 9am to 11am PT, with several industry leaders expected to speak.
Two ruggedized mid-range devices destined for Sprint, Boost and U.S. Cellular
Making their appearance as successors to the original Kyocera Hydro, the Hydro EDGE and Hydro XTRM have been unveiled here at CTIA 2013 in Las Vegas. Doing what Kyocera does best, the latest two iterations in the Hydro family are mid-range devices that pack a solid feature set with the added bonus of water, shock and dustproofing. First up is the EDGE, which is only officially rated as being waterproof but still sports what feels like a solid case, destined for both Sprint and Boost Mobile. The XTRM (as the name would suggest) is officially certified as resistant to not only water, but also shocks, drops and dust and will arrive instead on U.S. Cellular.
Both devices are decidedly mid-range, with 4-inch WVGA displays, 5MP cameras and dual-core Snapdragon processors. Stick around after the break where we have a bit more information, as well as some hands-on pictures and video to get a better feel for both of these new devices.
Just a quick heads up that LG has confirmed that its May 30 event in Macau, China, indeed is for the Optimus G Pro, as we originally suspected, and not a successor to the smaller Optimus G. That makes more sense from a release-cycle standpoint, as the Optimus G is all of eight months old at this point.
In the United States, the Optimus G Pro is currently (and exclusively) available on AT&T.
6.3-inch Galaxy Mega to go on sale at UK retailer in July for £459.99
If the likes of the recent 5-inch devices, or the Galaxy Note 2 just aren't quite big enough for you, then you may be interested in the Samsung Galaxy Mega. A colossal 6.3-inch smartphone, the Mega was announced back in April for launch in Europe and Russia sometime in May. We're now seeing the first signs of UK availability for this monstrous device, and it can be yours in July, though the exact date is still unknown.
Retailer Clove Technology has started taking pre-orders for the Mega, and for £459.99 you get the 16GB version in either black or white. Other notable specs on the device include Android 4.2.2 and Samsung's latest version of Touchwiz, a 1.7GHz dual-core CPU, a HD display, LTE, an 8MP rear camera, 1.5GB of RAM and a pretty sizeable 3200 mAh battery. You may also need large hands to use one.
Get all your pre-order information at the link below, and if you're thinking of picking one of these up, do please tell us in the comments below.
i500 LTE modem gains support for 150Mbps LTE with software update
At CTIA in Las Vegas, chipmaker NVIDIA has taken the opportunity to showcase the LTE capabilities of its upcoming Tegra 4i SoC, its mobile processor designed for mainstream smartphones. Announced back in February, Tegra 4i includes an integrated NVIDIA i500 LTE modem -- the new "soft modem" that can be reprogrammed over-the-air.
The CTIA demo we sat through saw Tegra 4i bumped from Cat 3 LTE (100Mbps) up to Cat 4 (150Mbps) with only a software update. In testing, the NVIDIA Phoenix reference phone was used in conjunction with an LTE testing unit designed to emulate a Cat 4 network. So we're not dealing with real-world radio conditions here, but it does show the potential of NVIDIA's new software-defined radios, as new hardware would usually be required for a jump between radio standards.
For what it's worth, we also watched Phoenix dutifully connected to AT&T's LTE network, which it was able to use to stream video and make voice calls, though the latter bumps down to 3G because no U.S. carrier has turned on Voice Over LTE yet.
There's still no sign of any consumer devices running Tegra 4i -- these aren't expected until early 2014. And real-world Cat 4 LTE networks are essentially non-existent at this point. Nevertheless, NVIDIA is ready, as is its programmable LTE modem.
LG is keen to make inroads into the budget LTE space with its Optimus F series devices, first announced at Mobile World Congress back in February. But one device that wasn't shown in Barcelona was the Optimus F3, a budget-focused 4G handset with a 4-inch WVGA display. Now it seems the F3 may be headed to Sprint, as prolific leaker @evleaks has unearthed a render of the device with Sprint branding.
At the other end of LG's product portfolio, @evleaks also mentions that the 5.5-inch Optimus G Pro, currently exclusive to AT&T, will be headed to Sprint "this quarter." A model number of LS980 is given, tying in with a device we've already seen pass by the Bluetooth SIG.
As for the Optimus F3, that's expected "in the next few weeks."
New WebKit-powered Opera 14 stable now available for Android
The Opera browser for Android has exited beta and arrived on the Google Play Store as a fully-fledged stable app. The mobile version of the long-running browser is based upon the WebKit rendering engine -- the same software used by the stock Android browser and (for the moment) Google Chrome.
But it's user-facing features rather than technical details that Opera's counting on to help it compete on Android. Speed Dial has long been part of the desktop Opera browser, allowing quick access to frequently visited bookmarks. The "Discover" tab provides a summary of news items. The "Off Road" mode uses data compression to make the most out of slow or expensive connections. And text reflow is included in the initial release, too.
Opera for Android is available now on Google Play at the Play Store link above. If you decide to take it for a spin, be sure to hit the comments and let us know what you think.
Rugged Galaxy S4 variant crops up once again in Croatia
Following yesterday's first photo appearance, today brings us a very quick video encounter with the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active. The ruggedized S4 variant, which sports physical buttons and a 1080p HD display, was captured in Croatia by an informant for MobileTechReview. The video mentions that it's powered by a Snapdragon S4 Plus CPU, however this is contradicted by earlier screenshots, which reveal a quad-core part at up to 1.9GHz with an Adreno 320 GPU. The S4 Plus line consists of dual-core Krait parts at up to 1.7GHz, so our money is still on a Snapdragon 600 being inside this thing. An 8 megapixel rear camera is also mentioned in the video, though this has yet to be confirmed.
The video is relatively short, but we can clearly see the latest version of Samsung's TouchWiz UI, and the "Active" seems just as snappy as its mainstream sibling. The footage appears to have been captured in the same demo station setting as yesterday's still images, and the weather widget shows Zagreb, Croatia as its location.
There's little doubt now that the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active is indeed a real device. We imagine it'll only be a matter of time before it's officially announced by the Korean manufacturer.