MetroPCS' nascent LTE network got two new compatible devices today, from Samsung and LG. We got to play with both of them tonight at Pepcom, and while we weren't bowled over by either one, both are decent smartphones — and neither requires you to sign a contract, which is a hard feature to top. The Samsung Galaxy Attain 4G is the lower-end of the two, a single-core device with a 3.5-inch display and a 1GHz processor. It's also a little cheap-feeling, and definitely had some issues with lag and unresponsiveness while we were playing with it. The dual-core LG Connect 4G, on the other hand, was much smoother and actually feels quite well built. It worked relatively smoothly, but its 4-inch display wasn't particularly impressive, and we're (not so secretly) not fans of LG's Android skin. The Galaxy Attain 4G should be available by the end of January for a sub-$200 price, and the Connect 4G will be out in February at an unspecified (but certainly higher) price.
Perhaps the most interesting thing we saw at MetroPCS' booth was a mystery smartphone that reps wouldn't name, though the "Galaxy S 4G" on its back seems a dead giveaway. The phone had a retractable antenna sticking out of it, and was streaming broadcast TV over the air through Dyle's mobile TV app. It's the first phone and MetroPCS is the first carrier to offer mobile TV, which is a popular feature in other countries but hasn't caught on in the US yet. The antenna picks up broadcast TV signals — occasionally in HD, but it depends on how the particular network broadcasts — so anything you'd get with a TV tuner you'll be able to get on your phone without using up your data plan. The device worked surprisingly well, changing channels effortlessly and reporting impressive signal strength. The Dyle partnership was announced a while ago, but MetroPCS has yet to ship a phone that uses it. We're not sure when this mysterious phone will be available, or how much it will cost, but streaming TV without the data cap hit is almost as nice an idea as a contract-free cell phone.