I know, I know, if you believe the blogs, twitter feeds, and TV ads, it's *always* cell phone season in the US. But really, honestly, Summer is a big time for new carrier releases here in the States. CTIA came and went with not even a dozen new US phones - and none on Verizon or Sprint - which means that some cool new stuff must be on tap for late Spring/Summer launch in the US.
T-Mobile's got some kind of media event scheduled for April 21 in NYC. Given that their Grammy Tour sponsored by Sidekick has already kicked off without a new Sidekick to promote, I'm fully expecting the "Blade" to be unveiled by T-Mo in the Big Apple. Expect 3G data speeds powering all of that SK goodness tweens and college kids have come to love.
LG and VZW have a new, low-priced candybar phone in the works for an April/May launch.
Sprint and Palm had better get the Pre into stores during May. Recent rumors about Sprint employee vacation blackouts point to a May launch, but other rumors are targeting June. June will belong to Apple no matter how great Pre could possibly be, so my money's on that May 17 rumor for Pre's long-awaited launch.
Verizon has a few new devices waiting in the wings from what I'm told, and we should see the first of them - the LG EnV3 - in stores in May (unless the launch gets pushed to late April). Expect a slightly sleeker, hipper looking version of the EnV2.
iPhone 3 launches June 8 at Apple's WWDC in San Francisco. You can all but bet on it. One new model? Two? A phone and a tablet/netbook? Dunno. Wait and see. iPhone OS 3 will be a big deal for a few reasons:
LG and Verizon will likely launch the Voyager 2 in June, though it won't be called Voyager 2 due to licensing issues with Plantronics, makers of the Voyager line of audio accessories. Look for a form factor similar to the original Voyager, but with a better touchscreen and a new Versa-esque user interface.
T-Mobile should release the Nokia "Madeline" sometime this summer. What could be the XpressMusic 5530, this phone will be a full QWERTY horizontal slider with a 3.2 MP camera and media player with 3.5mm headphone jack. The 5530 is said to be a touchscreen phone, so I'm not sure if Madeline=5530, or if Madeline is a non-touch variant of the device. T-Mo may also have another Nokia slider in the works in the XpressMusic 5330.
T-Mo may also have an 8 MP camera phone from Motorola on deck for Summer, though that device may have been cancelled given Moto's recent internal struggles and shakeups.
If we haven't seen a new Android-powered phone hit the US by July, I'm not really sure what I'll have to say about the future fate of Google's mobile OS. While rumors point towards Android-powered phones from Huwaei and Samsung hitting T-Mobile in Q3 of 2009, I really, really hope they're preceded by another HTC device sometime in Q2.
Also, by late July we'll hopefully see HTC's new smartphones hit the US. Rumors now point towards a July 22 release of the Touch Pro2 on T-Mobile. By then I'd say we'll also see the Touch Diamond2 on a US carrier, as well.
Expect to see the first real wave of carrier-subsidized netbooks hit the US in time for Back to School. AT&T and Verizon should lead the way, but Sprint might make some kind of wacky play for early market share, too. And if you live in Clear range, you'll be able to get your WiMax on netbook-style, too.
That's just a start ... and that's just through August.
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