AT&T announced five new Android smartphones on Tuesday, including the Motorola Atrix 2 with a powerful processor that goes on sale Sunday for just $99.99 with a two-year service agreement.
All the five AT&T smartphones will be available by the end of the year and run either Android 2.3 or 2.2, not the next-generation Android "Ice Cream Sandwich," which Google and Samsung were expected to announce today before postponing that event .
Verizon Wireless is expected to make available the Samsung Nexus Prime running Ice Cream Sandwich sometime in late October or November.
In addition to the Atrix 2, AT&T said it will soon sell the Samsung Captivate Glide, the Samsung DoubleTime, the Pantech Pocket and the AT&T Avail, which will be available only with a pre-paid phone plan. Pricing and sales dates were not provided for the other four.
Today's announcement brings to 19 the number of Android smartphones AT&T is selling this year, up from the 12 the carrier said in January it would launch in 2011.
The focus on Android phones at AT&T is interesting, given that AT&T was also the first to sell the iPhone in 2007. It will sell the iPhone 4S beginning on Friday after taking 200,000 pre-orders in 12 hours last week .
"AT&T's bullish on Android," a spokeswoman said via email, adding that AT&T offers leading smartphones running every major OS, including iPhone, Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.
She added that AT&T is "committed to offering Android options for every kind of customer," which includes large screen "superphones" like the Samsung Infuse and the HTC Inspire. AT&T also has Android phones like the Impulse that sell for as little as $29.
AT&T posted a video to quickly describe the five phones.
Following are some of the features AT&T released for each device.
Motorola Atrix 2
The Atrix 2 is a 4.3-in. touchscreen smartphone with a quarter HD display (640 pixels by 360 pixels) and a 1GHz dual core processor. It runs Android 2.3 and can operate over the AT&T 4G HSPA+ network, where available.
Similar to the original Atrix, which has a 4-in. screen and is already being sold by AT&T for $99.99, the larger Atrix 2 connects to the Motorola Lapdock 100 or the optional HD Station to give users a larger keyboard or monitor.
The Atrix 2 also comes with two cameras, including an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera. It has 8GB of internal storage and a 2GB microSD card that can be expanded to a 32GB card.
The Motorola Atrix concept was originally intended to attract power users and workers, and the Atrix 2 will have on-device encryption, support Exchange ActiveSync and an IPsec VPN. AT&T didn't give further details on those features.
Samsung Captivate Glide
The biggest differences between the Captivate Glide and the Atrix 2 are a slightly smaller touchscreen -- 4 inches -- and a slide-out Qwerty keyboard for users who like a physical keyboard.
Many specs are the same as the Atrix 2, as the Captivate Glide has a 1GHz dual-core processor, runs Android 2.3 and can run over 4G HSPA+ networks, where available. It also has two cameras, including a rear-facing 8-megapixel one. Storage is 1GB internally, with an 8GB microSD, expandable to 32GB. Device and SD card encryption and mobile device management are supported.
The DoubleTime runs on Android 2.2, has a 3.2-in. touchscreen, supports 3G networks (UMTS and GSM) only, and offers only a 600MHz processor. Internal storage is just 260 MB, bolstered by a 2 GB microSD card that can be expanded to 32GB.
AT&T focused on the DoubleTime's white-and-pink color scheme. It has a single 3.2-megapixel camera.
The Pocket has a 4-in. touchscreen, runs Android 2.3 and is described by AT&T as "ideal...for social entertainment and messaging." It supports AT&T's 3G networks and has a 5-megapixel camera. AT&T didn't describe the processor.
The Avail, built by ZTE, is the second Android smartphone for pre-paid customers on AT&T's GoPhoneservice. It runs Android 2.3, has a 3.5-in. touchscreen and a 5-megapixel camera. It supports 3G networks.
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 [email protected] .
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