Oct. 31, 2011 at 11:50 AM ET
The wait's over! AT&T will finally offer 4G LTE-capable Android smartphones beginning on November 6. The first two devices to hit the shelves will be the HTC Vivid and the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket.
The HTC Vivid will have a 4.5-inch qHD display (540 x 960 pixels, in case you're wondering), a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, 16 GB of on-board memory (with a microSD slot capable of handling an extra 32 GB), and an 8-megapixel camera (with support for 1080p HD video recording).
The Samsung Galaxy II Skyrocket on the other hand will offer a 4.5-inch SuperAMOLED Plus display (800 x 480 pixels), a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, 16 GB of on-board memory (with a microSD card slot capable of handling an extra 32 GB), an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (with support for 1080p HD video recording), and a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for video chats.
As previously mentioned, both devices will hit AT&T's stores and online shop on November 6. The HTC Vivid will set you back $200 while the Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket will go for $250 — with both prices relying on your willingness to sign a two-year service agreement, of course.
In case you're confused about the fact that AT&T has been advertising 4G phones for a while, you're not alone. The ones the carrier has called 4G aren't really 4G, just a slightly updated 3G. Now, in order to clarify things, it must call these real 4G phones "4G LTE." Still confused? Not our fault. (For evidence of how AT&T's earlier 4G phones weren't really 4G, see the Laptop Mag report that we ran several months ago.)
Now, in order to take advantage of the devices' 4G LTE capabilities, you'll of course need to live in an area with 4G LTE coverage — there aren't too many of those just yet — and shell out some cash for a data plan. AT&T will offer tiered data plans which will start at $15 and include access to the provider's network of Wi-Fi hotspots as well:
DataPlus provides 200 megabytes (MB) of data for just $15 per month. An additional 200 MB of data usage is $15.
DataPro provides 2 gigabytes (GB) of data for $25 per month. An additional 1 GB of data is $10. Customers who want to use their device as a mobile hotspot can sign up for DataPro 4GB for $45 a month, which lets you tether or share your data connection across multiple devices.
The data plan aspect aside, what you really need to keep in mind is that AT&T's LTE network won't be covering too much ground right away. When the Vivid and Galaxy S II Skyrocket become available, AT&T 4G LTE serice will only be available in nine markets (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, and Athens, GA.) It's worth noting that AT&T has plans to reach 15 markets by the end of 2011.
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