Droid Charge on Verizon LTE Goes on Sale April 28

Verizon Wireless and Samsung announced that the Droid Charge, Verizon's second LTE smartphone, will go on sale April 28 for $299.99 with a two-year agreement.

The Charge has a 4.3-in. display and runs Android 2.2, the same as the HTC ThunderBolt , the first phone running on Verizon's LTE network. The ThunderBolt shipped March 17 for $50 less, at $249.99.

Verizon is still offering unlimited data for $29.99 a month with the Charge, in addition to the ThunderBolt and the iPhone 4.

Verizon officials have indicated they will invoke usage-based data pricing, probably in mid-summer, although it is unclear whether that step will completely eliminate an unlimited data plan.

The Charge will also come with a free Mobile Hotspot feature for a limited time, allowing LTE connections with up to 10 Wi-Fi-ready devices or five 3G CDMA devices.

The phone also has a 1GHz processor and support for HTML 5 Web browsing. A rear-facing 8-megapixel camera complements a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera, supporting still photos and video chat.

The onscreen virtual keyboard supports Swype technology for quick typing without the need to lift a finger off the screen.

The Samsung Charge is the official name for the Samsung 4G LTE smartphone announced by Verizon in January at the International CES trade show. Verizon is also expected to launch the LG Revolution by July on LTE, a spokesman said. The Motorola Droid Bionic, another Verizon LTE phone, is undergoing changes to its form factor, features and functions from what Verizon showed in January and will launch this summer, Motorola said this week.

Verizon on Thursday also said it has turned on LTE in 45 metro areas, including six more just added: Clarksville and Cleveland, Tenn.; Columbia and Hilton Head, S.C., Wilmington, N.C. and the Greater Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania.

LTE supports download speeds of 5 Mbps to 12 Mbps, with uploads of 2 Mbps to 5 Mbps. Those speeds are about 10 times faster than the Verizon CDMA-EVDO network.

Verizon also sells mobile hotspots for LTE access and USB modems for laptops.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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