Verizon HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, ATandT Samsung Focus 2 Debut at CTIA

From CTIA, Verizon Wireless and AT&T each showed off 4-inch, LTE-running smartphones. Verizon’s HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich, while the $50 Samsung Focus 2 runs Windows Phone Mango.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T kicked off CTIA Wireless 2012, a major industry-wide convention this year taking place in New Orleans, with introductions of new smartphones for their respective 4G Long-Term Evolution networks.

Verizon showed off the HTC Droid Incredible 4G LTE, a smartphone running Ice Cream Sandwich, as version 4.0 of Android is known, that will arrive €œin the coming weeks,€ though the carrier offered no pricing information.

AT&T, by contrast, introduced the Samsung Focus 2, Samsung€™s first 4G LTE smartphone to run Microsoft€™s Windows Phone platform€”version 7.5, known as Mango. It will be available May 20 for just $50 with a new two-year contract.

One thing the phones do have in common, on a field where the players have grown so large that one analyst recently joked that users will need to €œsew some oversized pockets onto their clothes,€ is a 4-inch display. Verizon marketed this feature as €œpocket-friendly.€

The Droid Incredible 4G LTE runs on a 1.2GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, offers support for an up to 32GB memory chart, has a front-facing camera for video calls, has Mobile Hotspot capabilities to support up to 10 other devices and has a removable 1,700mAh lithium ion battery.

Its other specs bring to mind a new HTC addition to the AT&T lineup, the HTC One X. Both phones combine ICS with HTC€™s Sense 4.0 user interface, feature 8-megapixel cameras that can shoot photos while taking video, have screen-lock shortcuts that speed up the process of opening up favorite apps, and offer an enhanced audio experience, thanks to Beats Audio€”which is said to offer a listening experience closer to what the artist intended.

Both phones also build on the near-field communication- (NFC-) based Android Beam to allow users to share content with other NFC-enabled phones by tapping the two.

A Read Later feature, Verizon points out, lets users of Incredible 4G LTE save browser content for reading later, even when offline.
On to the Samsung Focus 2: It€™s now the third Windows Phone device in the AT&T portfolio, making AT&T the biggest backer of the budding OS.

Launching in Glossy Pure White, the Focus 2 measures 10.98mm thin and weighs 4.3 ounces. If a comparison helps to put those numbers into context, the iPhone 4S is 9.3mm thin and weighs 4.9 ounces, while Samsung€™s new enormous-but-skinny Galaxy S III is a svelte 8.6mm deep and 4.7 ounces. Verizon was slow to respond to a request for specs on the Incredible 4G LTE.

The Focus 2 has a 5MP camera that can shoot high-definition 720p video; built-in Bing Search; Microsoft Office Mobile and SkyDrive, for creating, saving and accessing documents on the go; a front-facing camera for video calling; and text-to-speech features for hands-free use.

There€™s also the Windows Phone 7.5 OS, which the Nokia Lumia 900 has helped to win some fans, and of course that $50 price tag.

By pricing the Lumia 900 at $100, Nokia and AT&T raised eyebrows€”and sold phones. The price point was cause for a good deal of conversation, as the pair, with Microsoft, tried to find a balance between incentivizing feature-phone owners over to a smartphone, and suggesting, wrongly, that the phone was a low-end model. With the Focus 2, AT&T appears to be experimenting again; it would very much like to attract subscribers to its full range of devices and platforms, making its business a little less iPhone-dependant.

Over at the Windows Phone Blog, Ben Rudolph described the Focus 2 as taking €œVERY good pictures€ and having a design that's ergonomic and super-comfortable to use.

€œTyping is where the design really shines through,€ he wrote, €œas the curved edges mean no €˜hotspots€™ on your hands and [help] you avoid cramping fingers (especially if you have big hands, like me).€

While AT&T€™s LTE network is expanding quickly, it hasn€™t yet reached Redmond, Wash., where Rudolph is. In an April 27 press release, announcing plans to bring LTE to Salt Lake City later this year, AT&T said the network is covering 260 million people. Verizon Wireless, introducing the Droid Incredible 4G LTE, said its LTE network now covers 230 markets across the United States.