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How to Choose a Smartphone Guide: Connectivity

How to Choose a Smartphone Guide Connectivity

How to Choose a Smartphone Guide Connectivity

So far, we have tackled the topics about how to choose a Smartphone processor, storage options and display in the following series of articles:

The common aim of these articles is to impart you with the knowledge on how to be able to get the ideal Smartphone that will cater to your preferences and needs.

The next important element that you have to consider when choosing a Smartphone is Connectivity. This feature enables the hardware of your Smartphone to be able to connect to various service providers and to other devices.

There are different connectivity options available for Smartphone nowadays. The current technology that we have today offers 2G, 3G, 4G/LTE, Wi-Fi and GPS. So, basically, these are the things that will be explained here.

2G

2G stands for second-generation wireless telephone technology. This is the most basic since it only enables a phone to make or accept calls and send or receive SMS. An example of a technical specification of a 2G network is this, “GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900”.

Based on the given example, it means the phone can connect to a GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network within the four frequency ranges which were specified. Then, since it has the capability to connect to up to four frequencies, this is considered to be a quad band.

Again, this is the most basic, thus, current Smartphones have no trouble connecting to a network that offers 2G technology.

3G

3G or the third generation of mobile telecommunications technology offers Internet connectivity in addition to the features offered by 2G. With this, you will be able to check emails, browse websites, download applications and perform other activities that require Internet connection.

The indication of the frequencies that it supports is presented similar to GSM. But instead of using the term GSM, it uses HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access). For example, “HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1900 / 2100”.

Also it presents the maximum amount of data that it can transfer per second in terms of downlink and uplink. For example, “HSDPA, 21 Mbps; HSUPA, 5.76 Mbps”. Note that HSUPA stands for “High-Speed Packet Access”.

However, that the amount of data that you can download or upload is still dependent on your carrier. If your carrier only offers a data transfer speed which is less than what your device offers, you will not be able to fully enjoy the maximum allowed data transfer rate indicated in your Smartphone’s technical specification.

4G/ LTE

4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications techlogy while LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution”. So far, this is the latest technology used by Smartphones today. It combines all the features of 2G and 3G technologies and it boosts them to provide a data transfer rate that can go beyond 100 Mbps.

An example of a technical specification that offers a 4G/ LTE connectivity is “LTE 700 MHz Class 17 / 1700 / 2100”.

But then again, be reminded that you will not be able to fully enjoy the 4G connectivity of your device if your network only offers a data transfer speed lesser than what your device can hold.

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi allows any computing or communication device to connect through a wireless local area network. When buying a Smartphone, make sure that it has the capability to connect to Wi-Fi. A Wi-Fi connectivity will give you the option to connect to any Wi-Fi Hotspots in your area which will save you a lot of money later on. This is because instead of using the data allowance provided by your carrier all the time (which is usually very limited and expensive), you can just tap to any Wi-Fi source and browse the Internet or download data all you want.

Here is an example of a Wi-Fi technical specification of a Samsung Galaxy S4, “Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4/5 GHz), DLNA, Wi-Fi Direct, Wi-Fi Hotspot”.

In the given example, it shows the Wi-Fi networks supported by the Galaxy S4. Then, DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) is a standard multimedia streaming technology which lets your Smartphone share multimedia files with other compatible devices. Next, Wi-Fi Direct means the Smartphone can set up a device-to-device wireless connection. Lastly, Wi-Fi Hotspot means the Smartphone can serve as a Hotspot or Wi-Fi provider to other devices.

GPS

GPS or Global Positioning System is a space-based satellite navigation system. It allows the user to determine his exact location on Earth, see the exact time of his area, get information on the weather and to get map directions. This is definitely a very handy feature for travelers and people who need directions from time to time.

Watch Out for the Next Topic

The next thing that we will discuss is Operating System. Be sure to read it as well, so you will be able to get the Smartphone that is ideally made for you.

Best Buy reveals Verizon LG Spectrum 2, official unveiling may be on November 3rd

Best Buy recently listed in its website the rumored LG Spectrum 2 unveiling some information essential to knowing what the device is capable of and where it is heading when released. Among the information everybody can see are photos, initial specs, price, model number and the carrier that will offer it. Phone Arena reported the launch date may happen on November 3rd but no one can really be sure about it unless LG or Verizon confirms it.

On the product page, there are two photos showing the overall design of the smartphone. Unlike the first model that has rounded corners, Spectrum 2 has corners that are almost edgy making it looks like a perfect rectangle from afar. Also, it now has four capacitive buttons instead of three and apparently a bigger screen of 4.7 inches, although the 0.2 difference in screen measurement does not really make the device looks bigger. Overall, the device looks more elegant and professional; it’s something anyone might appreciate at first glance.

The specs listed by Best Buy suggest LG Spectrum 2 would be competing in the 4G market just like its predecessor. Considering Verizon’s aggressiveness in promoting its new infrastructure, this device is without a doubt going to be bundled with plans only a few could resist and be given the same treatment (or even better) as with Spectrum. Best Buy offers it for $649.99 but the shipping date hasn’t been disclosed yet.

LG Spectrum 2 gets a Snapdragon S4 MSM8960 chipset with dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz. Since it uses Qualcomm’s SOC (system-on-chip), it will come bundled with Adreno graphics processor. To complement the CPU, LG gives Spectrum 2 1GB RAM and 16GB internal memory plus a microSD slot to support up to 32GB external storage. While LG is one of the companies Apple employed to manufacture iPhone 5’s in-cell display, such technology wouldn’t be seen in this device. Nevertheless, it sports a decent 720 x 1280 pixels resolution at around 312ppi density.

If you want to see the product page personally to learn more about it, find Best Buy’s link after the post. The information you can find on that page may change as LG hasn’t announced the official specs yet. But somehow, we know what to expect from it. Furthermore, if you are one of the owners of LG Spectrum under Verizon network, the ICS update is now available.

[source: Best Buy]

[via: Phone Arena]

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SIM-Free Sony Xperia T LT30p now available in the US for $599.99

UPDATE: Xperia T will be offered by AT&T as Sony Xperia TL that will be featured during the premier of the upcoming James Bond movie, Skyfall.

After its successful roll out in the United Kingdom and Europe, Sony Xperia T finally reaches the US shores bearing a price tag of $599.99 for unlocked or SIM-free version. It is apparently a mid-range device with a dual-core processor, 1GB RAM and Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich operating system. Reviews show it offers what it promised to give but many believe it is priced just a little over its range.

Many providers in the UK, Germany and the rest of Europe added Sony Xperia T to their portfolio and subsidized it. In the US, however, there’s no information whether major carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile would pick it up and offer it at a lower price with bundled plans and a 2-year contract. Now, let’s try to look a little closer and see what this device is made of.

Processor. Sony Xperia T sports Qualcomm MSM8260A Snapdragon chipset with a dual-core Krait clocked at 1.5GHz and packed with Adreno 225 GPU. Majority of Sony mid-range Android smartphones use this Qualcomm chip.

Memory. With 1GB RAM to complement its CPU, Xperia T would definitely offer good performance and stability like other Xperia devices available in the market today. It comes with only one capacity variant, 16GB internal memory, but for those who think it’s not enough, there’s a microSD card slot that supports the typical 32GB external memory.

Display. It uses the typical TFT capacitive touchscreen, which majority of Xperia devices also use, but offers a resolution of 720 x 1280 pixels. It has approximately 323ppi pixel density after being stretched on a 4.55-inch screen. It also features Sony’s Mobile BRAVIA engine.

Camera. Being a company with good reputation on photography, Sony never fails to give its smartphones decent camera specs. This handset has 13 megapixels primary camera with an L.E.D. flash featuring Multi Angle shot and geotagging. It is capable of recording 1080p @ 30fps videos with stereo sound and continuous autofocus. The secondary has 1.3MP but capable of recording videos of 720p @ 30fps.

Battery. Looking into other Sony devices, we couldn’t really expect to get massive battery pack like other manufacturers. Xperia T packs a Li-Ion battery with maximum power of 1850mAh that could last up to 7 hours of straight talk time over a 2G network. On a rough estimate, this battery pack can power this device for 4.5 hours (or less) of straight gaming and browsing using 3G Mobile service.

Apparently, Sony Xperia T is a good smartphone with decent specs and performance. It doesn’t support 4G LTE but capable of Near Field Communication (NFC) services.

For now, Sony Xperia T is available at Sony Stores and other Sony partners nationwide.

Source: GSM Arena

HTC One X For AT&T Only 16gb Internal Memory?

Anthanasios Zarkadas over at HTCpedia.com discovered something else about the HTC One X that is headed to AT&T that may turn people away.

We were clearly told that the One X at AT&T would have a Qualcomm S4 processor and not the Nvidia Tegra 3.  As Zarkadas points out, that of course also means that the TegraZone games that are currently available and the new ones coming out just for the Tegra 3 chip won’t be available for the HTC One X in the states.

A quick check of the AT&T preorder page though, only shows a 16gb version. As we know from Mobile World Congress there’s no expandable memory in the device either.  It was originally stated that we would have the option between a 16gb and a 32gb version.

While 16gb is a lot of on-board storage, when it’s maxed out at 16gb that may put a damper on things for some AT&T Android users. While there’s no official phone called the HTC One X Zarkadas refers to the international version as the HTC OneXL because, he’s right, it’s definitely not the same phone we’re getting here.

We’re also waiting to see if we have the same problem with processors with the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S III. We’ve heard a lot about the Exynos quad core processor that’s going into that beast of a phone. What we haven’t heard is whether or not it plays nice with 4G/LTE.

All four US carriers either have or have announced plans to use 4G/LTE as the official 4G in the United States. The reason (the only reason) we’ve got the Qualcomm processor for the HTC One X is because they are releasing it as a 4G/LTE device for AT&T.

We think they should release both. We’d then see which 4 people want, 4G/LTE or that quad-core processor.

source: HTCPedia.com

Sprint Galaxy Nexus Preorder Inventory Sold Out

Sprint users are anxiously awaiting the Galaxy Nexus on Sprint. While there are probably many Sprint customers who are coming to the end of their HTC Evo 4G contracts or other devices, who plan to upgrade, there are probably some Verizon converts out there anxious for a pure Google experience with Google Wallet support.

Whoever the preorders went to they are all sold out at this point. As our good friend Quentyn at Phandroid points out though, there’s no reason to worry. Sprint stores will most likely get launch day inventory and they may replenish online inventory by the 22nd when the Galaxy Nexus goes on sale.

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Sprint’s 4G LTE Galaxy Nexus Getting Closer, Stores Receive Marketing Materials

A Phandroid tipster has provided them with the image above clearly showing a Samsung Galaxy Nexus poster. There is a second image here at Phandroid of the tube the poster came in which clearly says display starting 4/15 which is this coming weekend.

While the original rumors suggested we would see the Galaxy Nexus on 4/15 we don’t think they would put the posters up the day the phone launches. The date for display lends more credence to the rumors of April 22nd.

The Galaxy Nexus on Sprint’s 4G/LTE network will get a couple minor bump ups as far as spec is concerned from both the GSM model and the Verizon model. The Sprint version will also support Google Wallet for all without side-loading as Sprint is Google’s carrier partner for Google Wallet.

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AT&T Galaxy Nexus On The Way?

Prior to the announcement and release of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus on Verizon Wireless rumors were hot and heavy that the device would appear on AT&T. Although not carried in AT&T CORE stores the original Nexus One and Nexus S supported AT&T’s bands. It wasn’t far-off to think that the Galaxy Nexus would be the same.

AT&T fueled the fire when they actually asked on their own website if their customers wanted the Galaxy Nexus.

Earlier this week the fairly new Android Revolution website ran a story saying that they had a source close to the situation and that SIM cards had started to surface specifically for the Galaxy Nexus. While I’ve only been in the wireless industry more then a decade and have never seen a SIM card for a user replaceable phone, specifically tied to any device, Androrev.com says that several SIM cards (RS#17-0700) are “likely” 4G/LTE and specifically for the Galaxy Nexus.

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Did Sprint Out The Galaxy Nexus Release Date With LG Viper News?

When Sprint announced their 4G/LTE network at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas Nevada earlier this year they made it seem like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus would not only be the flagship phone for their next generation network, but they also made it seem like it would be first.

If it is to be first are we to expect it within the next week or so?

On Tuesday it was revealed that the 4G/LTE LG Viper would be available for pre-orders starting April 12th which is just 8 days away. Now we know that’s just a pre-order date however the other significant part of that story is the part about the LG “Life’s Good Fairy Tales App” this app allows you and your child to make up fairytales of their own.

The “Life’s Good Fairy Tales App” will be available in the Google Play store on April 27th.  We would think with the LG Viper being the flagship phone for that LG app the phone release date and the LG Fairy Tales App release date into the Google Play Store should coincide with each other.

Earlier rumors suggested that the Galaxy Nexus would release on either April 15th or April 22nd. If the Galaxy Nexus is to be the first 4G/LTE phone on Sprint it would have to release before the LG Viper, right?

So did Sprint just acknowledge that we will in fact see the Galaxy Nexus hit their network sometime between now and April 27th? Your guess is as good as mine but no matter what, we are getting closer and closer to Sprint’s 4G/LTE network.

The news coming out of today’s Sprint/HTC event should also include a 4G/LTE phone. We’ll see where all this leads us soon enough. Stay tuned and comment below.

Sprint’s Complete 4G LTE Map Surfaces

Sprint's 4G LTE Coverage at Completion (image: Sascha Segan)

Sprint was the first carrier in the U.S. to tout “4G’ although disputed by some, Sprint was able to make this claim because of their WiMax network, a joint venture between Sprint and Clearwire for which they own 50%. The ITU eventually rescinded it’s first position and said that WiMax, HSPA+ and 4G/LTE all qualified as 4G.

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year Sprint announced that they would be deploying a 4G/LTE network as part of their “Network Vision” program. Network Vision is Sprint’s branding for how they are upgrading their networks for customers.

Sprint offered a keynote at the Rural Carrier’s Association meeting where the slide above was shown. Someone snapped a picture of it and it’s going around the interwebs at a fast pace (4G/LTE pace).

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Dan Hesse: Android Users Use More Data Than iPhone Users

Sprint's Dan Hesse on stage at CTIA October 2010: File Photo: Thedroidguy.com/Thedroidguy LLC

Sprint CEO was the featured guest on a Mobile Live video interview published yesterday. Hesse was defending Sprint’s strategy on betting so much on the iPhone. Sprint’s guy next door CEO Hesse has come under fire recently by reportedly committing to the purchase of 30 million iPhones.

When asked to comment in his Mobile World Live interview Hesse said that the iPhone is paying off. Four out of every ten iPhone’s sold on the Sprint network are to new customers. Hesse says that the iPhone coupled with unlimited data is a “marriage made in heaven”.

 

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Verizon Droid Charge Update Coming

Verizon Wireless has said that customers with a Samsung Droid Charge should expect an update shortly. The software update goes by the number FP1 and brings a lot of enhancements to the Samsung 4G/LTE device. Unfortunately it’s not bringing Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.

According to the Verizon Wireless update document, the Droid Charge update brings these features and enhancements:
+ Updated User Interface (UI).
+ Device is enabled with the Wireless Alerting System.
+ No longer receive a promotional notification popup when using Mobile Hotspot.
+ Device allows for USB tethering while in Wi-Fi mode.
+ No longer lose data connectivity when the USB cable is connected or disconnected.
+ Easily view data activity with the Wi-Fi icon located in the status bar.
+ Complete calls without experiencing choppy audio, clicking noises and/or
one-way audio noises.
+ Resolved “no tones” dial pad issue, allowing for easy access to voice mail
and other automated systems

Verizon has also updated VZ Navigator to version 7.5.1.52 and has done some other application enhancements that will protect data loss from some third party Android Market applications.

This update will also bring the Verizon Remote Diagnostics Application that will allow (with customer approval), customer service agents for Verizon to “log in” to your Samsung Droid Charge to remotely view the device for trouble shooting, device training and application demonstrations.

This free update should arrive soon in your software updates section.

source: VZW

Sprint’s Samsung Galaxy Nexus Makes It’s Way Through The FCC

At the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year Sprint said that they would begin rolling out a 4G/LTE network this year. The first device on that network is going to be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Sprint was a partner for the Galaxy Nexus’ predecessor the Samsung Nexus S 4G. With the Nexus S 4G Sprint and Google introduced the NFC enabled Google Wallet. Something that Verizon Wireless customers weren’t officially able to get.

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T-Mobile Skips 82Mbps HSPA+ Goes Straight For 4G LTE

If there was any doubt that 4G/LTE was the way 4G was going to go, that’s out the window now. T-Mobile has announced that they are switching over to 4G/LTE and skipping the next iteration of HSPA+. That now means that all four U.S. carriers; Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile will all have 4G/LTE.

In a perfect world, with all four carriers switching to 4G/LTE, that would pave the way for the carriers to stop subsidizing phones and OEM’s to sell unlocked phones. Although that’s what Best Buy CEO, Brian Dunn, would like, it’s not likely to happen.

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Lights Dimming On Light Squared

Around this time last year, nobody seemed to be able to stop Light Squared. The Reston VA based satellite company was going to roll out a 4G/LTE network come hell or high water. Well it looks like both have swooped down on Lightsquared in the last two weeks.

LightSquared had signed a multi billion dollar deal with Sprint to help the nation’s third largest carrier roll out 4G/LTE. Luckily for Sprint that deal was contingent on LightSquared overcoming an obstacle with the FCC. The spectrum LightSquared intended to use for their 4G/LTE network is spectrum used for military and airline GPS.

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