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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

AT&T launching 12 new Android phones this year

Today at CES, AT&T took the stage along with Motorola, Samsung and HTC to announce three new high end Android devices, and also announced that an additional 9 will be arriving through 2011.

First up is the HTC Inspire 4G, which is very similar to the Desire HD, except with AT&T 4G HSPA+ frequencies. It has a 4.3" screen, 1GHz processor, and pretty much all the same other specs of the Desire HD.

Next is the Samsung Infuse 4G, a massive, 4.5" device that features a 1.2GHz processor and a new type of screen technology which promises better contrast and outdoor readability while maximizing battery life. It has an 8MP camera and will be the thinnest smartphone AT&T offers when it launches.

And finally, there is the Motorola Atrix 4G, which features a very fast dual core processor and 1GB of RAM. Other specs like screen size and such aren't known yet.

AT&T also announced that they'll be calling their HSPA+ network "4G," just like T-Mobile has decided to do. They will also be launching an additional 9 Android devices through 2011, which is a major shift from their current mentality. AT&T is also known for having a staunch anti-install policy for outside apps, limiting all phones to installing apps only from the Android Market. Whether all of these new devices will continue to follow that trend or not are unknown. Be sure to check out Engadget's coverage of these three devices here, here, and here.

This is so awesome. AT&T has been really dragging their feet with Android, likely because they don't want to take away from iPhone sales, so it's great to see them go all in with tons of new devices. All three of these new ones sound really cool and each brings something a bit different. And yet I honestly can't get all that excitited. It's good to see dual core and big screens, sure, but these devices are just cookie cutter copies of existing ones. No keyboards, no real innovation in design, just more of the same. And I so highly doubt AT&T will change their install policy, which is just unacceptable.

Wow, there's a lot going on here. It's always nice to see more and more Android phones, but I'm curious to see what all those other nine phones are going to be like. Maybe there will be some of the innovation Ryan is looking for. As for the three that were announced, I'm curious about the screen for the Infuse. It would be nice to have phones with better outdoor readability. I was struggling with that on my phone just today. But seriously, are these things marketed to basketball players? They're the only people I know of with hands big enough to handle something that size. I certainly won't be buying anything that big.

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