So what's an iPhone 4X4? If you're at Verizon Wireless, it's not the latest SUV, but instead is the iPhone 4 with 4G data communications. Verizon has been building out its 4G LTE test network for some time now, and is reportedly already testing a version of the iPhone in its test environment.
What's more important is that LTE handsets are already on their way to market, meaning that an iPhone 4G device would be an important early introduction for a device that might otherwise be starting to lose its luster under the onslaught of Android smartphones.
According to an article in ARS Technica, on July 30, the Federal Communications Commission has just approved the first LTE handset, a Samsung SCH-r900, which will run on MetroPCS, possibly in Las Vegas to start. If the version of LTE being built out by MetroPCS meets the expected 4G standards, it'll be the fastest and highest capacity wireless network in the United States, at least until Verizon Wireless goes public.
Right now the only 4G network operating commercially in the United States is Sprint's WiMax service, and while it's called 4G, it certainly doesn't provide the speeds that are normally associated with a 4G service. In fact, T-Mobile's HSPA+ 3G network is about twice as fast as Sprint's 4G. Furthermore, even though Sprint is currently riding on Clear's network, it's also working on creating its own, much faster 4G network using LTE. T-Mobile is also working on an LTE 4G network, although it's unclear how far along those plans are.
Currently, there's not a great deal of information available about the SCH-r900. We do know that it's a CDMA device, that it has a full touch screen, and of course that it will support very fast data transfer. However, MetroPCS is not a major carrier, so it's tough to know whether this is an effort to gain a bigger national profile, or a way to differentiate itself in the prepaid markets it already serves. The indications are that this will be an Android device as has been the case with other recently released smartphones from Samsung.