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Windows Phone goes 4G at last

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) appears to be finally preparing to "face the future" and flip the switch on fourth generation wireless technology.  Faced with a "no-LTE-no-Windows Phones" ultimatum from America's largest carrier -- Verizon Wireless, a joint venture between Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) and Vodafone Group Plc. (LON:VOD) -- Microsoft appears to finally have became serious about LTE, with the first 4G Windows Phones spotted in the wild.

Windows Phone fans have long defended the platform's lack of LTE with platitudes such as "4G kills battery life; "the technology is ready for the market"; "LTE speeds aren't as good as promised"; or "the coverage isn't ready yet".  These criticisms certainly single out legitimate weaknesses of current LTE deployments, but they glaringly miss the fact that rudimentary 4G -- while a work in progress -- is the state of the art, today.  And technology sells phones; without cutting edge hardware (even if it's just a little better), a phone is less likely to succeed in the fickle consumer market.

But the drought and defensive responses may at last be near an end.  The Verge cites a source cites a source close to Samsung Electronic Comp., Ltd. (KS:005930) as describing an upcoming "early 2012" Windows Phone, which packs both a larger screen that the previous Samsung Focus S Windows Phone (so likely Samsung's 4.52-inch display found in the Galaxy S II HD) and a LTE modem.

Likewise a source reveals an HTC Corp. (TPE:2498) Windows Phone handset named "Radiant", which will also feature an LTE modem.  WPCentral, a top Windows Phone rumors site, has spotted the handset in the wild.  The handset was running a post-Mango build -- Windows Phone 7.10.8004.

Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) is also reportedly cooking up an LTE-enabled variant of its slick Lumia 800 handsets, which bears a bit of a resemblance to the sleek colored metal-body iPod Nanos.  

Lumia 800
[Image Source: The Verge]

Some of the details clash with the previously leaked Windows Phone roadmap (also revealed on WPCentral).  Reportedly "Tango", the next build of Windows Phone would be aimed at budget handsets, and the late 2012 "Apollo" would be aimed at higher end (i.e. LTE, HD screen) smartphones.  

It now appears both the HD screens and LTE will be launching in early 2012.  It's possible that Apollo will launch aside Tango, or it's possible that the improvements have been merged into Tango as a single super-release, similar to Mango.

Samsung is the world's largest maker of smartphones and second largest maker of feature phones.  Nokia is the top smartphone seller in China, the world's new largest smartphone market.  And HTC was on top of the American smartphone market -- the world's second largest market -- at last count.

Sources: WPCentral, The Verge [1], [2]



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By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 9:19:44 AM , Rating: 1
1. The chipsets are too damn big.
2. The battery life sucks.

If you advertise your phones as fast, sleek and great battery life, why would you jeopardize that just to satisfy one carrier's marketing gimmick. It's a catch-22, though. Verizon is the only one that advertises these phones. I might have seen one or two HTC commercials, but by and large, the carriers are the ones that push the phones. You can't escape the fact that if the red shirts at the Verizon store don't give a shit about your product, then it won't sell.




By mcnabney on 1/3/2012 10:16:46 AM , Rating: 1
Verizon wants to migrate everything to LTE as soon as possible. That will allow them to shut down CDMA and run a data-only network using VoLTE for voice. That is why they don't want to sell any more 3G-only devices than they have to. Apple is a special case - they have dedicated consumers, but that is okay because the Apple faithful upgrade quickly. Microsoft is not necessary. People don't come into the stores asking for a WP7 device. They want iPhones and whatever version of Android is currently hot. Because there is no demand for WP7 there is no reason for Verizon to sell it. Besides, it is already closely associated with AT&T and bears the burden of previous Microsoft mobile failures. Just face it, we are going to have a two horse race. The sooner RIM and MS get out of the industry the better.


By Arsynic on 1/3/2012 2:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
The better my ass. Then we have to choose between one extreme or the next: A dated, walled garden and an open wild, wild west convoluted, try-to-make-everyone-happy OS. WP7 is a happy medium.

This is coming from an iPad and iPhone owner.


By sprockkets on 1/3/2012 2:43:26 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
This is coming from an iPad and iPhone owner.


So why are you such a Windows nut? What makes wp7 so, wonderful to you that you have to reply to ever Fing post here?


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