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For some consumers, a single feature can make or break a future purchase in a smartphone. It doesn’t matter what that feature is, but it may just come all the way down to a single thing that keeps someone from buying the next best smartphone. For the wireless carriers in the United States, promoting their 4G speeds is a big deal. After all, all of them are investing plenty of money in taking their subscribers to a new level of speeds, so why wouldn’t they be pushing the technology as much as they can? Unfortunately, there are still high-end devices hitting store shelves that lack the next-generation connectivity that some customers are looking for. Is this a bad strategy for the mobile carriers?

As of right now, the major wireless carriers are pretty much even in the amount of different 4G-enabled devices they currently have on sale. As of the time of this writing, AT&T has four 4G-enabled devices ready for purchase; Verizon has three handsets ready to buy now; T-Mobile USA also has four smartphones ready to buy; and Sprint has four as well. So there’s no one carrier standing out with an absurd amount of 4G-enabled devices, and the difference may come down entirely to the devices that are coming soon.

As of right now, T-Mobile is the only site that has a listed 4G device as coming soon. The Samsung Exhibit is an announced device, though, and it’s rumored to be launching in just a matter of days. The other carriers are quiet on the “upcoming” front, so this may not be a fair comparison. But, we do know that devices are coming soon, and we do know that handsets have recently launched.

In the coming soon department, we know that T-Mobile USA also has the HTC Sensation 4G coming soon, but no exact release date has been provided as of yet. For Sprint, the HTC EVO 3D will be bringing a fresh new device to the 4G market. Verizon still has a Motorola-branded 4G device coming down the pipe, but whether it’s the Motorola Bionic remains to be seen at this point. As for AT&T, it seems pretty quiet at this moment.

It seems that Verizon is the only carrier that’s still trying to release devices, especially high-end devices specifically that are lacking the 4G connectivity that some people are craving. The argument may be the most obvious one: that Verizon’s 4G LTE network isn’t widespread over the nation to warrant the release of 4G-only devices quite yet. However, with handsets like the Motorola Droid X2, the Motorola Droid 3, the Sony Ericsson Xperia Play and even the HTC Trophy, 4G connectivity would have been a major bonus for these high-end devices.

And that leaves me wondering: are you avoiding some of these new devices because they don’t have 4G? We know that Verizon has every intention of having 4G-only devices by 2013, but how many non-4G devices will be shipped between then and now? And if you’re not in a 4G-covered area, are you still waiting to upgrade your handset until you can access that faster data connection? Let me know in the comments below.


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