Verizon Wireless plans to launch a new Samsung 4G LTE smartphone on Thursday under an exclusive U.S. distribution deal. Among other things, the Galaxy Stellar has been designed to protect the security of mobile business professionals while delivering download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second (Mbps) and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps on Verizon's 4G LTE network.
Verizon is clearly hoping that the new smartphone running Android 4.0 -- also known as Ice Cream Sandwich -- will appeal to U.S. business professionals working at companies that have adopted "bring your own device" policies. To sweeten the deal, individuals who sign new two-year service agreements with Verizon will receive Samsung's Galaxy Stellar for free after a $50 mail-in rebate.
For Samsung the immediate aim is to attract a significant number of Verizon's subscribers in advance of Apple's expected rollout of a 4G LTE iPhone 5 on Sept. 12. Verizon appears to think that shipping the Galaxy Stellar with a wealth of mobile shopping capabilities is one potential way to help Samsung accomplish its goal.
"A growing number of shoppers are avoiding the crowds and making mobile commerce part of their shopping routine," noted Verizon blogger David Samberg on Tuesday.
Supporting Amazon Apps
Featuring a 4-inch 800x400-pixel display, the Galaxy Stellar includes a 1.2-gigahertz dual-core Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm, a Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) radio chip, rear 3.2- megapixel and front 1.3-megapixel cameras, and a microSD card slot capable of supporting up to 32 GB of memory storage.
To enhance the device's consumer appeal, the Galaxy Stellar will sport a suite of Amazon apps that make it easy for users to discover and download multimedia content.
According to a recent study from Nielsen, 47 percent of U.S.-based smartphone users used mobile apps to make purchases in June. "Retailers are finding that consumers are willing to use smartphone apps to enhance their shopping experience, and this shows usage of shopping apps is growing," said Don Kellogg, director of telecom insights at Nielsen.
The addition of retail apps from Amazon on the Galaxy Stellar aims to provide U.S. consumers with yet another way to customize their smartphones to make the online shopping experience more convenient.
"Amazon's Shopping, MP3, Zappos, Kindle, and Audible apps -- as well as the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) -- will be preloaded to offer quick access to the online stores, one-click ordering and access to Prime free two-day shipping," Samberg wrote in a blog.
An Enterprise-Friendly Device
The Galaxy Stellar provides IT managers with the requisite Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync support for pushing e-mail, calendar and contacts to devices via Microsoft Exchange Server. The phone also is fully compatible with the industry-standard protocols that support the virtual private network (VPN) and mobile device management (MDM) products already developed by members of the Samsung Enterprise Alliance Program.
Furthermore, all the data stored on the smartphone -- including app-specific internal data as well as both internal and external memory -- is fully encrypted using the advanced AES 256-bit encryption standard. The new handset will be available for purchase in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and online beginning Sept. 6.
Though Samsung lost a well-publicized patent court case last month during which a jury awarded Apple $1.05 billion in damages, Piper Jaffray does not believe the verdict will have an impact on Samsung's latest devices.
"We believe that Samsung is likely to make software modifications to devices to work around the patented software features in question," wrote Piper Jaffray analysts Gene Munster and Douglas Clinton in an investor note.