After delays, Droid Charge to go on sale Saturday

16-day delay was 'unexpected,' Verizon says

Verizon Wireless will put the Droid Charge smartphone on sale Saturday morning, 16 days after it was first planned 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 with LTE problems, although Samsung, maker of the Droid Charge, previously said there was nothing wrong with the devices, which have sat in Verizon stores for the past two weeks awaiting 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 device goes on sale at 12:01 a.m. ET Saturday and will be available at the opening of Verizon stores around the country Saturday morning, Verizon said.

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

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

The Charge sells for $299.99 with a two-year service plan. A nationwide talk plan starts at $40 a month and an unlimited LTE data package starts at $30 a month. A mobile hotspot feature in the phone is free for a limited time, providing an LTE connection with up to 10 Wi-Fi ready devices or up to five devices on the older 3G network.

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 e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

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