Sprint adds to LTE smartphone lineup with Galaxy Nexus

New device loaded with Google services, including Voice, Wallet, Play and Google+ Hangouts

Sprint today announced that its second high-profile LTE device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, will be available on April 22.

Sprint today announced that its second high-profile LTE device, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, will be available starting April 22.

The Galaxy Nexus is very much a Google-centric device as it not only runs on Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich") but also comes preloaded with Google services such as Wallet, Google+ Hangouts, Voice, Play and Android Beam. The device also features a 4.65-inch display screen with a resolution of 1280x720 pixels, LTE connectivity and a TI OMAP 4460 1.2GHz dual-core processor. The device will cost $200 with a two-year service agreement.

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For the past couple of years Sprint has been the go-to carrier for Google-centric devices such as the original Nexus One. The carrier was also the first to integrate the Google Voice calling application into its Android devices and the first to launch the Google Wallet mobile payment application on the Nexus S 4G smartphone.

The Galaxy Nexus is also the second big-name LTE device announced for Sprint's LTE network in the past two weeks. Earlier this month the company unveiled the HTC Evo 4G LTE that is slated to go up for preorder on May 7. The device was notable because it featured Sprint's first attempt at implementing its HD Voice technology that the company says will make for clearer voice calls that eliminate most background noise. Although Sprint hasn't yet announced what spectrum it will use to handle HD Voice, Sprint could choose to tap the 15MHz of spectrum on the 800MHz band that it will free up by shutting down its iDEN network next year. Sprint's initial LTE deployments are slated to run on the PCS band that spans 1850MHz-1915MHz and 1930MHz-1990MHz. Sprint says its HD Voice capabilities will come online sometime in late 2012.

Sprint has yet to officially launch its LTE network, although the carrier has said that it will start offering LTE services in Atlanta, Houston, San Antonio and Dallas in the first half of this year. LTE, which stands for Long Term Evolution, is essentially a bridge from 3G technologies such as HSPA+ and EV-DO Rev. A to the 4G IMT-Advanced technologies that the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) says will deliver consistent speeds in the 100Mbps range. Verizon became the first major U.S. carrier to deploy LTE in late 2010 when it launched the technology in 38 major markets covering roughly one-third of the U.S. population. AT&T followed suit this past summer when it launched LTE in Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston.

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