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Droid Charge still unavailable, 12 days after LTE outage fixed

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | May 9, 2011
As of Monday, Verizon Wireless was 12 days late with the start of sales for its second LTE smartphone, the Droid Charge from Samsung, which was originally supposed to be available on April 28.

As of Monday, Verizon Wireless was 12 days late with the start of sales for its second LTE smartphone, the Droid Charge from Samsung, which was originally supposed to be available on April 28.

The delay most likely has to do with Verizon's 4G LTE network outage, which started April 26 -- two days before the Charge was due to go on sale -- and lasted more than 24 hours, analysts said. Verizon hasn't commented on the reason for the sales delay or the cause of the LTE outage, although a Samsung spokeswoman said on April 28 that there was nothing wrong with the Charge devices themselves. On May 3, Samsung posted a tweet that said "Droid Charge by Samsung is almost here" and included a link to a promotional video on YouTube.

Also on Monday, a representative of a Verizon store in the Boston suburbs said her store had the Droid Charge in stock but noted that "they are not able to be sold yet." She could not give a reason why the devices could not be sold. The Samsung and Verizon websites still asked customers to register for updates on when the Charge will go on sale.

While Verizon stores are not selling the Droid Charge, there have been recent reports that some Best Buy stores are selling the device, although Best Buy doesn't list it on its website

Some Droid Charge reviewers have been able to use the LTE network to test its speed.

Wirefly, an online smartphone sales site, was taking preorders of the Droid Charge for $249.99 on Monday, but it offered no indication of a shipping date.

Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates, said Verizon is most likely trying to make sure it will be able handle the increase in LTE network traffic that will occur when Charge owners start using the network alongside owners of Verizon's first LTE phone, the HTC ThunderBolt, which went on sale on March 17.

"The network needs to be ready for more devices, and Verizon can't afford to pull another AT&T and iPhone situation," said Gold, referring to the problems iPhone users encountered on AT&T's network in New York and San Francisco. "They are trying to make sure in any way that that doesn't occur again."

AT&T hasn't been immune to 4G cellular network foibles. In March, AT&T finally said it would turn on its faster HSUPA network, which it calls 4G, in April for two devices that AT&T had launched in February: the Motorola Atrix 4G and HTC Inspire 4G.

 

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