Now we’re intrigued. It’s a common (if unconfirmed) belief that the next iPhone will support LTE-based 4G, but the Wall Street Journal now understands through the ever-present “people familiar with the matter” that Apple is taking 4G worldwide. Where the current iPad only supports two LTE frequencies and drops to HSPA+ outside of the US and Canada, the new iPhone will supposedly cover parts of Asia and Europe as well. The exact countries haven’t been outlined, although it’s easy to imagine Apple going for those countries where 4G speeds matter the most: there’s been rumblings of talks with KT and SK Telecom in South Korea, but we could also see France, Germany, Japan and Scandiavian countries in the mix. The rumor hasn’t been confirmed, of course. That said, the iPhone was already purported to be using a new cellular chipset — and a number of carriers, most often in the US, have long said they won’t carry new smartphones unless LTE is part of the package. We’ll know the full scoop on Wednesday.
Oh Google, you didn’t think you were going to have all the mobile payment fun did you? While you’re beta testing in New York and San Francisco some big names across the pond are looking to dominate the entire UK. Vodafone, Telefonica, and Everything Everywhere (a joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile) are combining forces to create a mobile payment and marketing system that will take on Google Wallet and Offersbefore they even get off the ground in the British isles. The platform will be open to all comers, including Google, (you know, in case it decides to make Wallet a US only affair) and the companies have pledged to keep customer data out of the hands of third parties. The project is still in the very early stages of development, but the mobile providers aren’t dilly dallying — they expect their efforts to bear NFC fruit before the end of the year.
Nothing like a dead battery to kill your Foursquare buzz at a summer concert, eh? Vodafone feels your pain and so, in an act of brilliant PR, is rolling out a 40-foot truck capable of charging up to 2,000 devices simultaneously. Peeking inside the 44-ton station, it’s hard (for us, anyway) not to think of a bowling alley with cubbies, except they aren’t filled with rental clown shoes, but outlets ready to revive iPhones, BlackBerrys, Nokia handsets, and a host of Android phones. The service is free, and the carrier expects to charge roughly 72,000 handsets this summer alone. All told, our friends in the UK will get 11 chances this year to try it out, with the first public outing coming at the Isle of Wight festival next month. If, like us, you’ll be stuck elsewhere watching repeats of Lady Gaga’s concert special on HBO, have a peek at the Union Jack-blanketed press shots below.
Before hitting the states this summer, the Sensation will launch in the UK, Germany, and the rest of HTC’s “key” European markets in mid-May, with Vodafone scoring a Europe-wide exclusive for “a couple of weeks.” We can’t wait to put the Sensation through its paces in a full review, but happily we already scored some hands-on time with a near-final unit. Continue below the break for some early thoughts, full specs, and close-up shots of this superphone in action.
Would you look at that, HTC’s latest worst kept secret is live on Vodafone UK’s website. So here’s the scoop: 4.3-inch qHD (540 x 960 pixel) SLCD display, 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera augmented by an 8 megapixel shooter with dual-LED flash around back, a 1.2GHZ (dual-core) processor, and 4GB of internal memory with an extra 8GB supplied on memory card. Stick around, we’ll have hands-on with the latest Android Sensation from the HTC launch event later in the day.
Sony Ericsson’s Xperia Play isn’t having the best of starts in the world, having been delayed by UK carrier O2 due to “software issues,” and it’s now missing its targeted launch date of April 1st with two more of the local operators, Vodafone and Three. Both have today announced that, due to shipping issues, they won’t be able to meet tomorrow’s launch date — leaving only Orange on track to release it on time. T-Mobile, Orange’s partner in Everything Everywhere, says it’ll have the Xperia Play in “mid-April.” Still, the wait isn’t that much longer as Three hopes to sell you a Play “early next week” and Vodafone, a bit more cautiously, is shooting for availability “as soon as possible.”