Samsung Galaxy S 4G on T-Mobile Coming This Month

T-Mobile’s fastest phone to date—the Samsung Galaxy S-- will go on sale sometime in February, the company said Wednesday. T-Mobile says the phone will be the first in its portfolio to handle (theoretical) download speeds of up to 21 megabits per second (mbps). T-Mobile’s other marquee smartphones—the HTC myTouch 4G and the HTC G2—max out at 14.4 mbps.

The Galaxy S comes at a time when T-Mobile is working hard to push its wireless broadband network to deliver faster throughput speeds. The carrier spent much of last year souping up its network with new HSPA+ technology, and installing fiber optic cables to speed the movement of data through its network. T-Mobile says the network can now deliver theoretical top speeds of 21 mbps over most of its coverage area, and plans to double those speeds to 42 mbps in 2011.

T-Mobile hopes to attract new subscribers (and hold onto existing ones) by tempting them with high-bandwidth mobile apps that run well on the Galaxy S 4G, such as HD video, mobile gaming and videoconferencing. The carrier points out that the Galaxy S 4G comes pre-loaded with T-Mobile TV, which features free content from ABC News NOW, FOX Sports and PBS Kids. A pre-loaded app from Qik powers the phone's Videoconferencing function.

In Video: Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy S 4G

The Galaxy S 4G may have the highest (theoretical) top speed of smartphones in the market today, but, as we had suspected, some of its other specs are hardly bleeding edge. The phone has a 4-inch display--not as large as the displays of some other smartphones we saw announced at CES 2011. Also, the display is Super AMOLED, not the more vibrant Super AMOLED Plus we had hoped for.

The processor is the Samsung 1GHz Cortex A8 Hummingbird, not the dual-core processors powering some recently unveiled smartphones. The camera on the back of the Galaxy S 4G is 5 megapixel, not the 8 megapixel camera we're beginning to see.

Other specs: The Galaxy S 4G is powered by Android 2.2 (Froyo). The HSPA+ 4G radio inside the phone is made by ST-Ericsson. The phone also comes with a front facing camera (for videoconferencing), a preinstalled 16GB microSD memory card, and a 1650mAh lithium ion battery.

Before buying a Galaxy S 4G from T-Mobile, it’s a good idea to know if the T-Mobile network can deliver “4G-like” speeds across the parts of town you frequent. PCWorld’s tests of T-Mobile’s HTC G2 back in October show that the T-Mobile network in San Francisco could deliver download speeds of 4 mbps to 6 mbps in only about half of our testing locations, and some very "3G-like" speeds in the rest.

I suspect that T-Mobile’s network has improved somewhat since our October tests. We’ll know for sure when the results of PCWorld’s 13-city wireless speed tests are released at the end of February.

Pricing information has not been announced for the Galaxy S 4G.

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