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Samsung Stratosphere: Verizon’s next LTE phone?

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Verizon (s vz) subscribers may have their first handset with both LTE and a slide-out keyboard to choose from this week. The Samsung Stratosphere is reportedly about to launch on the largest carrier in the U.S., according to PocketNow, which has images of the handset. To the disappointment of many, Verizon chose not to carry the most popular Samsung phone, the Galaxy S II.

The Stratosphere’s support for LTE should appeal to those wanting a smartphone with a mobile broadband connection that averages around 12 Mbps, faster than many home broadband connections. The five-row hardware keyboard will separate Verizon customers into two camps, however. Some will want the keyboard feature while others won’t want the added bulk and weight it brings.

Few other Stratosphere specifications are known, although back in July, some details began to appear. The handset was seen running Android 2.3.4 at that time, and an Android Central tipster described the screen as “awesome” after taking a hands-on look. I’d say that means Samsung’s Super AMOLED Plus technology is on board, but we’ll have to see, since the phone looks much like last year’s Sprint (s s) Epic 4G.

If the handset has a 5 megapixel camera, as noted in July, the phone may be part of Samsung’s new Galaxy R line, introduced last month and touted as a premium category model with a combination of power, performance and productivity. I’d equate that to one step below the Galaxy S line, or between the mid- and high-end smartphone range, which could still appeal to some who had hoped for a Galaxy S II on Verizon.

When Verizon announced last month that it would forgo the Galaxy S II, I suggested it was due to the phone’s lack of support for Verizon’s new LTE network. There are few other logical reasons not to offer the phone, given that it has received stellar reviews and arguably has the highest specification combo in any single smartphone to date. A new Stratosphere may not replace a Galaxy S II, but it would show that Verizon would prefer to push handsets with LTE, even in the mid-range line.

5 Responses to “Samsung Stratosphere: Verizon’s next LTE phone?”

  1. bought the new Verizon Stratosphere but the tech couldn’t download my info..hat to return it but I’m now doubting it. Any suggestions for this phone? Love having a keyboard

  2. I’m for sure no computer wizard but I was always told by people that Sony iPhone is the best money can buy. I have iPhone 4 now and I’m really not to happy with it. I guess I’m asking the question should I switch to the new stratosphere with the keyboard that I’ve been accustomed to using before my iPhone with my blackberry or stay with iPhone?

  3. I’m very happy to finally see a smart phone with a keyboard for Verizon customers. I’ve been toying with the idea of switching providers do to the lack of phones that Verizon is offering until the iPhone 4 was offered in mid feb of this year. But I like the keyboard from my blackberry so I guess I’m just an old school guy who likes a keyboard. Sevo

  4. You really have to want a keyboard to choose this phone ahead the Droid Bionic because it really doesn’t compare well at all. It’s an Epic with LTE.

    If we are to believe the rumors of new phones with HD screens coming to Verizon, I think even better devices will arrive relatively soon.