Sprint unveils Samsung Epic 4G smartphone

Verizon also announces Samsung-built smartphone, the Fascinate

Just a few weeks after launching the HTC Evo 4G, Sprint Monday introduced the Samsung Epic 4G smartphone, which features a four-inch AMOLED touchscreen and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard.

The slide-out physical keyboard is the biggest difference between the new Epic and the Samsung Captivate smartphone that was announced by AT&T last week with only a touchscreen.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless today also announced a Samsung smartphone, dubbed the Fascinate. The Verizon Wireless offering has similar features to the Captivate and no physical keyboard.

Sprint's Epic smartphone is aimed at a wide range of buyers, including business customers who need push e-mail, Exchange ActiveSync corporate e-mail and integrated calendar services. Sprint said that it also plans to offer Google Mobile Services and "enhanced" device management and security features, but provided no details.

The company did not disclose pricing and delivery details.

Epic will initially run Android 2.1, with an upgrade to Android 2.2, or Froyo, coming "in the near future," a Sprint spokesman said. Some analysts, including Jack Gold of J. Gold Associates, say that Froyo is more secure than Android 2.1 for enterprise use.

Sprint is expected to allow unlimited access to its fast Wimax 4G network at a low cost for the indefinite future, as it tries to lure customers and catch up to market leaders Verizon and AT&T. The Epic works in both 4G, now available in more than 30 cities, as well as 3G CDMA networks.

The Epic is Samsung's first 4G Android device. The device falls into the Galaxy S phone category Samsung, part of the company's plan to boost its standing in the smartphone market. Samsung is already the second biggest maker of all types of cell phones.

The AT&T Samsung Captivate, another Galaxy S class device, also a four-inch touchscreen based on AMOLED technology.

All three devices from Samsung, the Epic, the Captivate and the Fascinate, run on a 1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird Application Processor.

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Matt Hamblen

Computerworld (US)
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