Verizon Wireless said it will begin selling the Samsung Droid Charge 4G smartphone April 28 for $299.99 with a two-year deal from its Website and its retail stores.
As the first Samsung-built phone with the Droid brand, the Droid Charge is clearly Samsung's answer to the popular HTC ThunderBolt 4G. That speedy device has sold to the tune of 260,000-plus units since its March 17 debut.
The Samsung Droid Charge offers a 4.3-inch touch screen with Super AMOLED Plus technology. Like the ThunderBolt, the Droid Charge runs Android 2.2, is powered by a 1GHz processor, supports Adobe Flash and features an 8 megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 1.3 megapixel camera in the front for video chat.
Verizon said Droid Charge customers can expect download speeds of 5-12M bps and upload speeds of 2-5M bps in 4G LTE coverage areas, or pretty much the same Verizon offered for the ThundeBolt. eWEEK found Verizon's 4G LTE network shuttled data across the ThunderBolt at an impressive rate.
The Droid Charge also boasts Verizon's mobile hotspot capability, connecting up to 10 WiFi-enabled devices over 4G and five devices via 3G. This will be available for free for a limited time, a departure from Verizon's typical $20 per month fee for up to 1GB for the mobile broadband tethering service.
Verizon and Samsung are offering other promotions for the service. For a limited time, those who buy the phone will get a free$25 movie credit for movie rentals or purchases via the Samsung Movie Hub.
Also, anyone over the age of 18 can participate in a Droid Charge Scavenger Hunt by following online clues to find hidden locations in 16 different U.S. cities to win a Droid Charge.
Per custom, Droid Charge buyers must subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan and a 4G LTE data package, starting at $39.99 and $29.99 per month, respectively.
The arrival of the Droid Charge only 42 days after the ThunderBolt could explain why Verizon is making its normally $249.99 ThunderBolt available for $129.99 via AmazonWireless.com until Monday, April 25: the carrier is looking to clear off shelf space for its new 4G smartphone.
News of the Droid Charge also comes a day after Motorola said it is pushing back the launch of its Droid Bionic, another 4G LTE Android 2.2 smartphone that was due from Verizon in the second quarter, to the summer.
Motorola said it wanted to improve the device's hardware and software. Perhaps Motorola saw some things in the Droid Charge or other devices coming down the pipeline that warranted serious upgrading.