T-Mobile Launches 4G Android Tablet, Smartphones - InformationWeek

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4/20/2011
12:25 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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T-Mobile Launches 4G Android Tablet, Smartphones

The LG G-Slate tablet, LG G2x, and Samsung Sidekick 4G can take advantage of T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network.

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Just one day after the retail launch of RIM's PlayBook tablet, LG and T-Mobile came out swinging with the G-Slate, an Android 3.0 Honeycomb tablet announced earlier this year, and two very capable Android smartphones.

The G-Slate is available for the full retail price of $749.99. If purchased online with a new two-year contract, T-Mobile will knock $120 of the price immediately, while also offering a $100 mail-in rebate. After those rebates, the final cost with a two-year data plan is a still-hefty $529.99.

The G-Slate has Wi-Fi as well as support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ 4G network. A cheaper model with only Wi-Fi is not available, nor has one even been announced by LG. One might say that the G-Slate is the first "4G" tablet to become available in the U.S., which should give it a leg up on the competition. It is also the first "3-D" tablet to become available in the U.S. Only the HTC Flyer, which won't be available until summer, matches the G-Slate's 3-D image capturing capabilities.

The G-Slate has an HD 8.9-inch 3-D-capable display. (Viewing 3-D content will require glasses.) Users will be able to watch 720p HD content on the G-Slate, as well as deliver 1080p HD/3-D content via HDMI to other playback devices.

The G-Slate is powered by a dual-core 1-GHz Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, which has enhanced 3-D graphics support. Android 3.0 Honeycomb supports Flash for native browser video playback, and it has other gaming niceties such as Wi-Fi, a gyroscope, accelerometer, and adaptive lighting.

Other features include dual-cameras for 1080p HD 3-D video capture. The cameras also shoot still images at 5 megapixels, and are supported by an LED flash. The G-Slate also has a 2-megapixel, user-facing camera for video chat support.

The 8.9-inch display sets the G-Slate apart from the competition right now. For example, the iPad and Xoom have 10-inch displays, while the PlayBook and Galaxy Tab have 7-inch displays.

The two other Android devices launching on T-Mobile's network today are smartphones, the LG G2x and the Samsung Sidekick 4G.

The G2x is another super-slab device that has a Tegra 2 dual-core 1-GHz processor and comes preloaded with games, including Tegra Zone. The G2x has a four-inch display and comes with an 8-megapixel main camera (with HD video capture), 1.3-megapixel front camera, and Qik video chatting software. It supports DLNA for media sharing, and has an HDMI out port with HDMI mirroring for sharing HD content on TVs.

Other features include 8 GB of built-in memory, support for microSD cards up to 32 GB, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and support for T-Mobile's HSPA+ network. It runs Android 2.2. It will cost $199.99 with a two-year contract.

Also introduced was the Sidekick 4G by Samsung, which keeps the familiar hardware design of historic Sidekick devices with a pop-up 3.5-inch touch screen and five-row QWERTY keyboard. Instead of running software from Danger, however, it runs Android 2.2 Froyo with a number of customizations by Samsung and T-Mobile.

First, the Sidekick 4G will have Group Text, a new T-Mobile service offering that lets Sidekick 4G users conduct reply-all group text conversations. Cloud Text, another new feature, will allow Sidekick 4G users to conduct text conversations from their platform of choice (PC, phone, etc.).

Other features of the Sidekick 4G inclue a 1-GHz A8 Hummingbird processor, and a user-facing VGA camera for video chats with the included Qik application. It is loaded with a bevy of entertainment features, including Samsung's Media Hub, T-Mobile's Media Room, and pre-installed Facebook, Twitter, and social networking applications. The Sidekick 4G will have access to T-Mobile's HSPA+ network at 21 Mbps. It costs $99 with a new contract.

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