As if we didn't have enough phones to review, AT&T, HTC and Samsung announced today the first LTE phones to launch on AT&T's newly rolled out network. The five initial markets (Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio) will be joined by four new markets (Boston, Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Athens, Georgia) on November 6th and these phones will join the 4G modems that are already available. Launching these phones alongside an already packed list of Android phones you'd expect these LTE devices to sport premium prices, much like Verizon's LTE offerings; that doesn't seem to be the case though, with HTC's offering coming in at just $199. So what do AT&T's first LTE handsets look like? Let's dig in. 

The HTC Vivid takes the Evo 3D recipe, swaps the WiMax baseband for LTE (likely the MDM9600 we've seen before), deletes the 3D camera and stretches the whole thing out to 4.5" while retaining the qHD display. The 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm MSM8260 provides HSPA+ connectivity and APQ8060 provides plenty of power for this Gingerbread phone, and the 8MP/1080p camera round out the announced features. We're still waiting for more details, particularly the screen type, and some press shots but being introduced at just $199 makes this a competitive phone, perfect for the holidays.

If you sprung for AT&T's first Galaxy S II variant, you might be kicking yourself right now. For just a $50 premium over the non-LTE variant, the Galaxy S II Skyrocket brings the LTE baseband and 1.5 GHz dual-core SoC of the international SGSII LTE, along with a larger 4.5" display, though retaining the WVGA resolution. As with the other SGSII variants, Super AMOLED Plus is on tap, bringing its delightful RGB stripe along with the rich blacks, saturated colors and excellent viewing angles from Samsung's other AMOLED displays. The look of the phone is similar to AT&T's other SGSII variant, just stretched out and without the textured back. On-board storage is 16 GB with microSD expansion up to 32 GB and you'll be able to fill it up with shots from that 8MP/1080p shooter we've seen before. We're waiting for confirmation on the SoC and the baseband, but at just $249 this could be a tough phone to pass up. 

The fall release schedule gets more and more crowded, and we're working as hard as we can to cull the field for you all. With any luck, these manufacturers will take a break, so we can get ahead. But we're not holding our breath. Stay tuned.


Source: AT&T

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  • luv2liv - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    these phones are ridiculously good looking and slim!
    i wish AT&T would let me use them without being forced onto a data plan!!! so im using a dumb phone till i figure out a way AT&T cant detect a smartphone OR data plan no longer required.
  • thrawn3 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    I use an HTC Inspire on AT&T's network without a data plan. I use it almost exclusively as a portable computer and very rarely use it as a phone and so I have the most basic pre-paid plan and they haven't complained. Sure I had to pay full price but with VOIP working when I have a Wi-Fi connection I have effectively unlimited talk time since I almost always have Wi-Fi. Having rooted and installed CM7 may have helped. The downside to all this is paying full price for the phone up front but I don't care when it is several hundred less then the cheapest contract by the end.
  • luv2liv - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    oh, i am post paid. its a company phone. however, the company strictly forbids inserting our SIM into a smart phone to avoid data charges :(
    if it was my personal phone, i prolly would do prepaid also!
  • dagamer34 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Do we have any statements from AT&T on how fast they expect their LTE network to be when there are a bunch of people on it? I don't care about speed tests of 20Mbps when there are no other devices connecting to the network, because that's a fantasy scenario that won't exist in a year.
  • milan03 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Well here is Verizon's real world peak speeds 10 months after the launch:
  • steven75 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    So AT&T is only going to offer mini-tablet sized phones if you want LTE?

    I think I'll wait.
  • JasonInofuentes - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Truly smaller LTE phones will be a bit longer. It's always easier to fit all the necessary chips and radios into a larger chassis, so you can go thick or big, and after the first round of devices (the Thunderbolt, Revolution and Charge) thin is back in so big is a must. Based on some comments from AT&T's CEO, they might be first to premier a Krait based phone, but that's purely speculation based on his one comment. Either way, Krait will be the next thing that moves the goal posts.
  • Hunt3rj2 - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    So the SoC has no modem at all, and the entire modem is on a separate chip?
  • JasonInofuentes - Thursday, November 3, 2011 - link

    In a Verizon LTE phone from HTC, the SoC carries a 1xRTT (CDMA2000) telephony radio and the MDM9600 carries EVDO and LTE radios. The MDM9600 also carries a full compliment of GSM/UMTS radios, including HSPA+. Since Qualcomm hasn't started selling a SoC with GSM/UMTS and LTE radios, they have to include the MDM9600, and if you're using that, then there's no reason to include a radio in the SoC, hence the APQ8060.

    Where it gets interesting is in Krait. Right now, all LTE phones are two chip solutions (SoC+LTE baseband). When Krait arrives it will be carrying every possible radio iteration being used except WiMax. This one chip LTE solution will result in drastically different phone designs that will be smaller and have better battery life. There should be a theoretical cost savings as well, as bill of materials for these phones should end up lower than the two chip solutions that exist. Don't expect prices to come down for some time though.

    Ralph de la Vega, AT&T CEO, spent some time boasting recently that their LTE phones would be the first to be thinner and more efficient thanks to new technologies. This doesn't seem born out. These phones are competitively thin, but they aren't thinner than the RAZR and if we're right about the modem's being used then they won't last any longer. What these phones really represent is a pricing battle that we'll hopefully benefit from.
  • lucypinderol - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

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