Welcome back to our weekly column where we round up all the Android-related rumors and discuss the validity of each one. Everyone seems to love our original rumor reports, but we thought it would be fun to examine the rumors from around the web and share our thoughts on the possibility of them coming true. Read on for this week’s latest Android rumors.
Pre-paid customers gain access to 4G WiMAX network
Rumor: Tammy Parker of Fierce Wireless reports that Sprint will offer WiMax service on their pre-paid Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile brands.
Our thoughts: This rumor was posted earlier in the week and Sprint just confirmed it in their quarterly earnings call. Device details were not disclosed, but both Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile will gain access to WiMAX sometime in the second quarter. Sprint is already moving on to LTE, but they already paid Clearwire $926 million for unlimited access to its WiMAX network in 2012 and 2013.
Probability: 100% confirmed
Verizon passed on the Samsung Galaxy S III?
Rumor: Stephen Schenck of PocketNow reports that Verizon will launch a device codenamed Samsung Jasper (SCH-i200), that features a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor.
Our thoughts: It’s really interesting to see that Verizon could be launching a new Samsung phone with a Snapdragon S4 processor. We don’t believe this Jasper device is the Galaxy S III, so it raises the question if Verizon will carry Samsung’s flagship smartphone.
Most carriers only have room for two hero products. At Verizion that is the iPhone and their Droid brand. We saw Verizon pass on the Galaxy S II and the HTC One X, so it’s not unbelievable to think they could skip the Galaxy S III. My gut thinks that Verizon wanted to turn the Galaxy S III into one of their Droid phones, and Samsung balked at the request.
As a current Verizon customer, I really hope that they carry the Samsung Galaxy S III. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if we see them skip it and launch another Samsung Droid phone (like the Jasper) instead.
Sprint to bring back the Motorola Photon series?
Rumor: Evan Blass of PocketNow reports that Sprint will launch a sequel to the Motorola Photon 4G, codenamed the Photon Q.
Our thoughts: I wasn’t sure how successful the original Photon 4G was on Sprint, but it makes sense that Sprint would partner with Motorola again and try to build up the brand. This device should become Motorola’s first LTE device on Sprint, and we believe they will go with the Snapdragon S4 processor. Look for this device to feature very similar specs as the RAZR HD (aka Fighter).
Since this rumor comes from king leaker Evan Blass, I believe it to be true. Look for Sprint and Motorola to unveil this device at the upcoming CTIA Wireless show in May.
Galaxy Tab with 2 GHz CPU unveiled next month?
Rumor: Aloysius Low of CNET Asia reports that Samsung could unveil a new Galaxy Tab at their London event on May 3rd.
Our thoughts: We have believed for quite some time that Samsung would unveil a Galaxy Tab with their 2 GHz Exynos 5250 processor. I thought it would be unveiled at MWC in March after I saw a prototype device at CES in January, but I was wrong. At this point, we think it’s a matter of when, instead of if.
Looking back at past Samsung Unpacked events, there is a strong chance we could see a new Galaxy Tab. At the Unpacked event in 2011, Samsung introduced both the Galaxy S II and Galaxy Tab 10.1. We haven’t seen many leaks lately about a new Samsung tablet since everyone is focused on the Galaxy S III, but don’t be surprised if Samsung shows one off on May 3rd.
HTC plans to develop its own mobile processors
Rumor: Wu Xiaowen of the China Times reports that HTC has partnered with ST-Ericsson to produce their own application processors for low-end smartphones.
Our thoughts: In today’s competitive mobile industry, you need custom silicon to differentiate your products. Apple and Samsung do it, and HTC needs to do more of it if they want to keep up. We already saw HTC take a step in this direction with their ImageSense chip found in the One series, and having a custom system-on-a-chip (SoC) is the next logical step for them.
Galaxy Note still coming to Sprint and Verizon
Rumor: The Samsung Galaxy Note will come to T-Mobile in May, and a launch on Sprint and Verizon will follow in the coming months.
Our thoughts: Rumors from back in January suggested the Galaxy Note would be coming to Sprint and Verizon, possibly as the Galaxy Journal. Now that we have seen the T-Mobile Galaxy Note in the wild, it appears that AT&T’s exclusive launch period is coming to and end. I have no proof that Sprint or Verizon picked up this device, but it is a truly unique product that has seen higher than expected demand. Verizon has a pretty crowded lineup, but I could picture the Note with LTE coming to Sprint this summer.
Probability: 60% for Sprint, 30% for Verizon
Snapdragon powered Galaxy S III in the United States
Rumor: Kim Yoo-chul of Korea Times reports the U.S. version of the next Galaxy could feature a Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm.
Our thoughts: Qualcomm is facing a shortage of their 28nm Snapdragon S4 chips, but Samsung is a top-tier customer, meaning Qualcomm should supply its chipsets even under a “heavy chip shortage,” according to unnamed Samsung officials.
The Korea Times report says, “Samsung plans to release its Galaxy S III smartphone according to different specifications and different markets. For European consumers, it will use 3G and the company’s own quad-core mobile APs, while its own solution that combines LTE, 3G and quad-core mobile APs will be used for the Korean version. But only in the United States, will Samsung use Qualcomm chips.”
I know that the majority of LTE phones launching in the first half of 2012 are using the Snapdragon S4 chip, but I find it really difficult to believe that Samsung would go this route. Samsung produces their own Exynos application processors and their own LTE modems, so it makes little sense for them to go with the Snapdragon S4 in the next Galaxy.
Why would Samsung use the same chip as HTC and LG if they are trying so hard to differentiate the Galaxy S III? I could be wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.
Got any juicy rumors?
Find any hot Android-related rumors that we failed to cover? Just contact Taylor or leave a comment below and we will evaluate them next week.