Sprint offers LG Viper on LTE for $100

Pre-orders start April 12, with shipments later this month

The LG Viper 4G LTE smartphone will be available for pre-order April 12 with a price tag of $99.99 and a two-year service agreement and rebate, Sprint said Tuesday.

G Viper 4G LTE smartphone
The LG Viper 4G LTE smartphone

The 4-in. touchscreen eco-friendly phone won't be available until later this month at Sprint stores, Best Buy and RadioShack, although Sprint didn't specify a date. Sprint's LTE network isn't due to launch until mid-year in six cities, meaning the Viper will operate on Sprint's slower 3G EV-DO network until LTE is ready, a Sprint spokeswoman confirmed.

The Viper runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) and also features a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and a front-facing VGA camera.

Sprint still offers unlimited data plans to differentiate itself from AT&T and Verizon, and plans to continue the offer with 4G LTE, Sprint said in a statement. Sprint's unlimited data plans, which include voice and texting, start at $80 a month.

One feature that Sprint introduced last fall on the Galaxy Nexus S, Near Field Communication, will appear on the LG Viper as well. The technology allows mobile payments at various retailers with the Google Wallet mobile app.

LG is also making 50GB of free cloud storage and sharing available through a download of Box software to LG devices until July 22.

The Viper is designed with eco-friendly features, including a charger that consumes fewer watts of power than other phones, and a casing that's made of 50% recycled plastics. The phone measures 4.59 x 2.44 x 01.46 inches and weighs 5 ounces. Its battery is 1700 mAh, for up to seven hours of talk time.

In January, Sprint said it would have 11 U.S. cities on LTE by mid-2012, at the same time it announced the Viper and the Galaxy Nexus for 4G LTE. Sprint's spokeswoman said Tuesday that the carrier has named only six LTE cities -- Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio -- which are expected to have 4G LTE and enhanced 3G in mid-year.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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