Samsungs Instinct on Sprint Challenges Apples iPhone

Samsung’s Instinct on Sprint Challenges Apple’s iPhone

Sprint positions the Samsung Instinct with touch screen and EVDO to battle Apple, Inc."s iPhone. Samsung"s Instinct features sensory feedback and accesses exclusive Sprint services, including Sprint Navigation and Sprint TV. Sprint hopes the Samsung Instinct will help it recover from a decline that led to job cuts and closing retail stores.

With competing devices for Apple"s iPhone sprouting like spring flowers, Samsung Mobile and Sprint have announced their entry, the Samsung Instinct. Sprint is hoping the new large-screen mobile device and other moves will overcome a string of setbacks.

Featuring a 3.1-inch display, the Instinct was announced Tuesday at the CTIA Wireless 2008 trade show in Las Vegas. The companies said the Instinct "combines touch-screen functionality with fast speeds available on the nation"s largest mobile broadband network."

Tactile Feedback

The touch screen features what the announcement described as "localized tactile feedback," enabling the QWERTY keypad and other functions to provide a "sensory experience." There is also a Voice to Action button enabling voice activation for call, text, picture messaging, traffic, movie, sports, news and search.

Like the iPhone, the Instinct is designed to be easy to use. There are three dedicated keys -- phone, back and home. The home screen has four menus -- Favorites, Main, Fun and Web. Also like the iPhone, there is Visual Voicemail, so messages can be heard or reorganized by screen tapping.

The Instinct also offers access to exclusive Sprint services, including Sprint Navigation, which provides audio and video turn-by-turn driving directions using Global Positioning System information, plus one-click traffic rerouting and more than 10 million local listings.

There is also live Search for Sprint, a Microsoft-powered service that offers access to information; Sprint TV for live and on-demand programming; and Sprint Exclusive Entertainment, a sports and entertainment video network for mobile devices. A 2GB microSD card can hold up to 2,000 songs from the Sprint Music Store.

Sprint"s First EVDO

The Instinct is Sprint"s first EVDO Rev A device for consumers. The company is promoting that "the vast majority" of its Mobile Broadband Network has been upgraded to EVDO Rev A.

With EVDO Rev A, the carrier said download data rates increase to 3.1 Mbps and upload data rates peak at 1.8 Mbps, with averages of 600 kbps to 1.4 mbps and uploads of 350 to 500 kbps. It said the network reaches more than 240 million people, more than 15,000 cities and nearly 1,500 airports. By contrast, the iPhone has been criticized for using AT&T"s slower EDGE network in the U.S., unless a Wi-Fi hot spot is nearby.

Pricing for the new device has not been announced.

The Instinct is only one of the devices Sprint is announcing this week. Others include the BlackBerry Curve 8830, which is also available from other carriers, and six new phones that offer Push-to-Talk capability.

The Instinct and its fellow newcomers are being watched in the context of Sprint"s attempted comeback under CEO Dan Hesse. In January, the company announced it was cutting 4,000 jobs and closing 125 stores, representing eight percent of its retailers. Recently, it announced a net loss of 683,000 postpaid subscribers, considerably more than observers had predicted, and the company has endured a variety of customer-service woes and bad press.

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