Sprint Galaxy Nexus LTE tipped to launch April 15

Samsung Galaxy Nexus

Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus has been a Verizon Wireless exclusive in the U.S., but Sprint customers may be able to get the device next month. Robert Herron reports on the S4GRU blog that Sprint will launch the Android 4.0 handset on April 15. Although Sprint’s 4G LTE network isn’t available yet, the phone will ship with an LTE radio ready for future activation.

Sprint hasn’t shared any official news on the Galaxy Nexus, but it makes sense that the carrier will sell the handset. It’s a flagship model that offers a large 1280 x 720 resolution touchscreen, dual-core processor and Google’s newest version of Android. Since Samsung already makes an LTE version for Verizon, it shouldn’t prove to difficult to make one for Sprint that uses a different radio frequency.

One key difference I anticipate is full support for Google Wallet, which I find to be a superb way to pay for things with my own Galaxy Nexus; I ordered an unlocked GSM version of the device late last year. Sprint previously partnered with Google to make use of the NFC chip in the Nexus S handset for the Wallet service. The Galaxy Nexus also has NFC-capability and it works well. Verizon’s Galaxy Nexus doesn’t officially support Google Wallet, mainly because the carrier is a joint partner with AT&T and T-Mobile for a competing payment service called Isis.

Sprint was the first major U.S. carrier to move beyond traditional 3G mobile broadband, partnering with Clearwire to build out a WiMAX network which launched in 2008. Other carriers eventually settled on the more global LTE standard, however, and Sprint plans to pursue the same path. The carrier plans to launch LTE on its 1900 MHz spectrum by mid-2012 and at that time, I’d expect the Galaxy Nexus handsets will be able to use it.

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