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Galaxy S Blaze goes on sale exclusively with T-Mobile

Lower price of $150 after rebate fits T-Mobile market strategy

T-Mobile USA has started selling the Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G smartphone in select stores today, and will begin nationwide sales March 28, a spokeswoman said.

The Samsung Galaxy S Blaze 4G smartphone

The Blaze sells for $149.99 after rebate and with a two-year service agreement. T-Mobile, the nation's fourth-largest wireless carrier, is selling the smartphone exclusively, a distinction seen by analysts as another indication that T-Mobile plans to remain aggressive as an independent carrier following the failure of its $39 billon merger with AT&T last year.

The carrier in February said it will roll out faster LTE service in 2013, partly by using wireless spectrum it received from AT&T after the merger deal fell through.

While T-Mobile calls the Blaze a 4G phone, it won't run over LTE networks and will instead use the carrier's HSPA+42 network technology with theoretical downloads of 42 Mbps, where available. T-Mobile notes that HSPA+42 is faster than the average home Internet connection.

Blaze runs Android 2.3 and uses a Snapdragon 1.5 GHz dual-core S3 processor from Qualcomm. The touchscreen is 3.97-inches and uses the Super Amoled technology seen in other Samsung smartphones and tablets .

The rear-facing camera is 5 megapixels, with a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video chat. Video can be recorded in 720p.

While some of the newest smartphones are beginning to feature quad-core processors and 8 megapixel cameras, the Blaze fits into T-Mobile's basic strategy of offering lower-priced products to compete with higher-price devices sold by the bigger AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The Blaze price of $149.99 after rebate is half the cost of the most expensive smartphones from those carriers.

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 email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

See more by Matt Hamblen on Computerworld.com.

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.

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