Android-Based Samsung Phones Make News on ATandT, Verizon, Virgin Mobile

Samsung's growing portfolio of Android-running phones shows up in the news trickling out about AT&T, Verizon and Virgin Mobile handsets.

Samsung's growing portfolio of Android-running smartphones is making its presence felt in the news trickling out on a variety of carrier handsets.

The Samsung Captivate, the AT&T-branded version of Samsung's flagship Galaxy S smartphone, can now run "Froyo," or Version 2.2 of the Android operating system, reported Oct. 4, linking to the developer site XDA-Developers.

A file for Android 2.2 can be downloaded from the XDA site; users just need to put the Captivate into Download mode-which Softpedia explains can be done by holding both volume keys with the phone turned off and the USB plugged in. From there, just run the .exe file.

Froyo fixes the bugs that still remained in "??½clair," or Android 2.1, despite its reportedly having been well tested.

Getting the jump on the official AT&T update may have its downside, however. Installing the XDA-Developers file may prevent Captivate owners from being able to install the latest official AT&T updates in the future, Softpedia warned. Plus, make sure to back up your data before activating the update, to prevent losing everything that's not stored on the SD card.

On the Verizon Wireless network, the newest Samsung Android handset is expected to be the Continuum. Word of the device spread after it reportedly showed up on a Verizon inventory list in mid-September, and it's expected to launch any day now.

While it will be a lower-end option than the Fascinate-Verizon's version of the Samsung Galaxy S-the Continuum will be unique in featuring a second, ticker-style AMOLED screen just below the primary display.

"The Ticker shows updates, news feeds, clock and other real-time data, and is woken up simply by holding the bottom of the device," tech site Thinkable reported Oct. 4. Turning to the Ticker display for these minor tasks, instead of the primary one, will help users get a bit more battery life per charge.

On the topic of lower-end handsets, the Android-based Samsung Intercept-launched in July as a $100 option on the Sprint network-is now being offered in Target stores from the Sprint prepaid brand, Virgin Mobile. Offered without a contract, it will retail at Target for $249.99.

"As smartphone users come up for contract renewal and examine their monthly costs, they will start to wonder why they are paying more each month when they can get similar services from Virgin Mobile at a fraction of the price," Bob Stohrer, vice president of marketing for Virgin Mobile USA, said in an Oct. 4 statement. "With the Samsung Intercept on Android, Virgin Mobile is leading its customers into new, eagerly awaited territory while expanding our potential customer base."

The Samsung Intercept runs Android 2.1 and Google's full lineup of mobile services, such as Gmail, Google Talk, Google Maps and Google Voice Search. It features a 3.2-inch touch screen with a slide-out QWERTY keypad, as well as 3G and WiFi connectivity, an 800MHz processor, a 3.2-megapixel camera with video, preloaded social networking applications, visual voice mail, a music player, a full WebKit Browser, Microsoft Outlook compatibility, and corporate e-mail support via Exchange ActiveSync.

The Intercept measures 2.19 by 4.43 by 0.59 inches, offers 6.4 hours of talk time and 254 hours of standby, and has a MicroSD slot that supports up to 32GB of additional memory. With Virgin Mobile's no-contract Beyond Talk service, users can choose plans $25, $40 or $60 monthly plans.

Later in October, according to Samsung, the Intercept will expand beyond Target stores to a number of additional retailers.

Samsung recently announced that it will discontinue support for the Symbian operating system-a move that's becoming common, as manufacturers look to cut costs by reducing the number of operating systems they support.