Mobile operator Sprint has announced that it will start selling the Samsung Epic 4G smartphone beginning August 31 through its Web sites, stores, and retail partners like Walmart, Best Buy, and Radio Shack for $249.99 after a $100 mail-in rebate along with a two-year service agreement. And customers who need to get their hands on an Epic 4G right away can make a reservation for the phone starting August 13, picking up their reserved units at a Sprint store.
The Samsung Epic 4G is one of a spate of Android-based Samsung Galaxy S smartphones that will be landing at all major U.S. carriers—each carrier will be offering Galaxy S devices under different names. However, Sprint’s Epic 4G differs from the rest of the Galaxy S pack in two main areas: it sports a slide-out QWERTY keypad for messaging, mail, and text entry, and it sports a WiMax radio so it can tap into Sprint’s high-performance WiMax network. In areas WiMax isn’t available, the Epic 4G drops back down to 3G service.
“With its beautiful display and slide-out keyboard, Samsung Epic 4G is a powerful tool for our customers, and it extends Sprint’s 4G leadership with a second strong smartphone option,” said Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, in a statement.
The Samsung Epic 4G will ship with Android 2.1—Sprint says an over-the-air update to Android 2.2 will be along “in the coming months.” The Epic 4G sports dual cameras (a five megapixel video-capable camera as well as a front-facing VGA camera for video chat), 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and a 1 GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird processor to drive graphics and applications. The device also features a 4-inch AMOLED display that can handle high-definition video content (720p at 30fps), a six-axis motion sensor for gaming, and a microSD slot for up to 32 GB of removable storage. The Samsung Epic will also be usable as a 3G/4G mobile hotspot for up to five Wi-Fi devices—hotspot capability will cost an additional $29.99 per month on top of regular service plans.
Sprint is touting the Epic 4G is a good fit for everyone from businesspeople to folks who look to their phones as sources of entertainment and gaming. Although Sprint’s WiMax network is only available in a growing handful of markets, the company plans to light up some major areas in 2010, including Boston, New York, San Francisco, Miami, Los Angeles, and Washington D.C.…which will make WiMax devices an option to a much larger number of mobile power users.