After delays, Droid Charge to go on sale Saturday

16-day delay was 'unexpected,' Verizon says

Verizon Wireless will put the Droid Charge on sale Saturday morning, 16 days after the new LTE smartphone was slated to hit store shelves.

Verizon didn't offer an explanation for the delay other than to repeat roughly what it has said since April 28 when sales were supposed to begin. The delay has been widely attributed to problems with Verizon's LTE network, which had a nearly two-day outage starting April 26.

Verizon has not acknowledged a connection between its LTE problems and the delay in the new smartphone's availability. However, Samsung, maker of the Droid Charge, previously said there was nothing wrong with the devices themselves, which have sat in Verizon stores for two weeks waiting to go on sale.

"It was an unexpected delay," a Verizon spokeswoman said Friday. "We always want to provide customers with the best wireless experience, and we introduced the device when we were confident that customers' expectations would be met."

The Droid Charge goes on sale online at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time on Saturday and will be available when Verizon stores around the country open their doors on Saturday morning, Verizon said.

The Droid Charge is Verizon's second LTE phone, after the ThunderBolt, which was introduced in March. ThunderBolt users experienced problems with data service during the recent outage, and some LTE modem problems continued after Verizon declared that its LTE network was up and running.

Verizon said the Charge will have download speeds of up to 12Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5Mbps. The Charge has a 4.3 -in. display and supports Adobe Flash.

The Charge sells for $299.99 with a two-year service plan. A nationwide voice plan starts at $40 a month, and an unlimited LTE data package starts at $30 a month. A mobile hot spot feature in the phone is free for a limited time; it enables the Charge to provide LTE connections for up to 10 nearby Wi-Fi ready devices, or connections to the older 3G network for up to five devices.

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

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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