Just as 2011 was wrapping-up, we learned about the activation of Sprint’s first LTE tower, forming the start of the high-speed 4G network the carrier intends to continue rolling-out through 2012. Last we heard about just what hardware Sprint might offer for use on this new network, we’d have to wait until sometime in the second half of 2012 to see them. Now we’ve got an early look at two of the first smartphones that will grace the network, the LG Galaxy Viper, and an LTE-equipped Samsung Galaxy Nexus.
By now, we’re well familiar with Galaxy Nexus hardware, so there aren’t many surprises here. One nice bit to note is that this Galaxy Nexus will have full support for Google Wallet transactions over NFC, unlike the hacky solutions we’ve seen attempted for the Verizon version of the phone.
The LG Viper looks like it’s being positioned as a more affordable alternative to the Galaxy Nexus for users who still want an Android running on Sprint LTE. With a 1.2GHz dual-core processor, it should still have some decent performance, but it shrinks things down with only a four-inch WVGA display. Like the Galaxy Nexus, it also support NFC and Google Wallet.
You may still have a long wait on your hands, but if you’re eager to hear more about these phones, Sprint’s collecting email addresses to send out updates when they’re available. The carrier now expects to start offering LTE service sometime before Q3, but we don’t know if it will get things started with only an LTE wireless hotspot, or if it intends to get one or both of these smartphones out before the second half of the year.