Mobile Miscellany: week of April 23rd, 2012

Not all mobile news is destined for the front page, but if you're like us and really want to know what's going on, then you've come to the right place. This past week, we learned that ZTE intends to release a phablet of its own, and Samsung unseated Nokia as the world's largest supplier of mobile phones. These stories and more await after the break. So buy the ticket and take the ride as we explore the "best of the rest" for this week of April 23rd, 2012.

ZTE plans to release a phablet (or two) of its own

A popular quotation is attributed to Gandhi as once having said, "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they attack you. Then you win." While it's too early in the game to declare a victor, this adage could easily apply to the Samsung Galaxy Note. Not only has LG joined the race with its Optimus Vu, but in an attempt to break into the premium handset market, ZTE has announced that it'll also introduce a phone / tablet hybrid of its own. Not to stop at just one, Reuters reports that the company will unleash two phablets onto the market later this year. As one of our favorite features of the Galaxy Note is the multi-functional S Pen, it'll certainly be interesting to see just how thoroughly ZTE clones the original. [SlashGear, Reuters]

Inventory leak suggests Lumia 900 coming to Finland on May 2nd

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You might've thought that Nokia's premiere smartphone would be available in its home country by now, but as the story goes, the company is still struggling to meet demand in the US. Earlier this week, a magenta Lumia 900 was spotted at a Finnish e-tailer, and most recently, an inventory leak suggested that the handset may become available in the country as early as May 2nd. Should this pan out, Finland will have a slight advantage over the UK, where the Lumia 900 is expected to make its official debut with Phones 4u on May 14th. [WMPoweruser]

GSM / EDGE support discovered for Motorola Droid 4 and Bionic

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Okay, so this is hardly an ideal setup, but it's hard to deny the coolness factor of knowing that both the Droid 4 and Droid Bionic can be finessed to access GSM / EDGE networks. Little research has been done to determine specifically which bands these phones support, although quadband access seems quite likely. Previously, a similar stunt was performed for the HTC Rezound. Turns out that Verizon Wireless has a veritable lineup of world phones -- if you're willing to put in a bit of elbow grease. [Phandroid, xda-developers]

Samsung unseats Nokia as world's largest supplier of mobile phones

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It was inevitable, really, but new data from iSuppli suggest that Samsung has now surpassed Nokia as the leading mobile phone manufacturer. During the first quarter of 2012, the Korean manufacturer managed to push 92 million handsets out the door, whereas Nokia came in second place with 83 million. This coveted spot was previously held by Nokia for 14 years. [SlashGear]

Leap Wireless details $94.3m net loss for Q1 2012

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It's hard to take the sting off of losing nearly $100 million on revenues of $774m in just three months, but Leap Wireless -- known to the public as Cricket -- is trying to do just that. The company announced an addition of 258,000 subscribers for the first quarter of 2012 and now boasts approximately 6.1 million customers. Leap's CEO, Doug Hutcheson, suggested that the company will soon roll out more expensive plans and similarly drive customers to premium add-on services, which is set to take effect in the second half of this year. Also of note, the carrier will add up to seven new smartphones to its portfolio in time for the back-to-school season. [Fierce Wireless]

Sprint will bring WiMax devices to Boost and Virgin Mobile

Looks like those rumors of the EVO Design 4G making its move to the prepaid realm just got a bit more credible. During the company's earnings call, a Sprint executive confirmed that the network will bring WiMax handsets to its two subsidiaries -- Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile -- in the next quarter. The carrier's agreement with Clearwire allows for such a move, which Sprint will leverage as it gears up for LTE deployment. [CNET]

Other random tidbits

  • Without a mention to specific carriers, HTC has announced that, in the very near term, it'll introduce the Radar for Windows Phone fans in Mexico. [WMPoweruser]
  • According to a Comscore report, the number of newly acquired smartphones has surpassed that of feature phones for the first time in Japan. [Textually]
  • A new version of Minecraft was unleashed for Android, which now allows players to craft items. [Phandroid]
  • AT&T has announced that it'll bring LTE to Salt Lake City later this year. [AT&T]
  • Virgin Mobile is sending out notifications to those on its $25/mo plan that it'll require users to move to the current pricing tier -- which starts at $35/mo -- once they upgrade their phones. [Thanks to everyone who sent this in] [Virgin Mobile]
  • Aussies can now go about renting Young Einstein from Google Play Movies, as the service became available to the land Down Under this week. [Android Central]

Is this RIM's BlackBerry 10 development device?