Archive for Sprint

>HTC EVO 3D Unboxing

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>We just got our hands on an the soon to be released HTC EVO 3D, and let us just say: HTC clearly listened to our editorial on boring boxes. This box is hot. The front is a pearl white monolith with a stylized letters spelling “EVO 3D” bumping out of the cardboard. That same bump out is featured next to it with the four encircled Android buttons (A house for Home, the four lines for Menu, a Back arrow, and the Search magnifying glass). One side of the box is yellow and has a tab to pull out the rest of the box from the pearly outside.

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The inside is crazy bright, rocking the spectrum from yellow to blue in a random geometric pattern, a stark juxtaposition from the solid white outer section. The EVO 3D sits in a white frame with a “FOCUS on driving” ad protecting the screen. Under that is the instruction booklet, USB cable, and power adapter.

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>The Future of Phone Plans, Ideally

>Gotta give it up to Apple, they know how to dominate news cycles. One of the smaller announcements they made at WWDC this week was iMessage, their iOS-only instant messaging program that is tied in with the existing messaging app. At first, attention was drawn to how it would compete with Blackberry’s existing BlackBerry Messenger app, something that has kept many a CrackBerry addict from leaving the platform. At this point, iMessage does make a lot more sense for people compared to BBM, simply because the iPhone is a crazy popular phone, the iPod Touch is an immensely popular mp3 player, and the iPad is still the tablet to beat (and no one has come close yet). BBM is on the BlackBerry PlayBook, but quite frankly, no one really bought it. BBM is one of the last things to hook current users in, it was a space where RIM really had no competition, but that now has been challenged.

Now, the launch of iMessage has brought up a very different question: Do we really need SMS at all? Its a well known fact that text messaging has been the longest, most widespread, and far most egregious instance of wireless providers overcharging for a service. Each text message sent is really only a few bites of information being sent around, and yet people pay 20 cents per without a plan. Even at $20 for unlimited, you’d have to send millions for the price to be justified. But before the dawn and success of the smartphone, it was the best way to fire off a small tidbit of conversation. Now that simply isn’t true. RIM, Apple, soon Windows Phone, and even some rumors of Android, all have or will have alternative quick messaging options built into their phones.

I am most certainly not the first person to notice how this may shake up the industry. Nilay Patel (formerly of Engadget) wrote up a great editorial on This Is My Next calling for the death of the phone number. He points out that Apple, Google, and Microsoft are all getting into the position of eliminating the carriers’ plans. None have gotten to that point yet, but its definitely a possibility in the near future. I don’t think the phone number should die. Its incredibly useful and really isn’t that different from a username, and we still need them for business if nothing else. But I do propose a drastic change.

For years, the carriers have refused to admit that they are just dumb pipes, managing networks that allow the transfer of data in many different forms to various devices. The separation of voice from texting to internet data usage is ludicrous at this point because the internet can do all of these things very easily, ultimately using their existing network. All one carrier has to do is accept that role, realize that all that consumers want is for them to fulfill that role, and come up with the following plan:

Throw away your preconceived notions of plans. There will be no more set allotment of minutes and texts and internet usage. All you do is pay for a bucket of usage (metaphorically speaking, of course). The carrier merely sets a rate for how big your bucket is. What you do with that bucket is entirely up to you. Voice calls and video conferencing would be done just like existing VoIP services like Skype, and texts wouldn’t really be texts, but data sent through apps on your device. The phone number can hang around still for these purposes, although most people could easily get by using Facebook Chat these days. In areas where 3G is scarce or nonexistent, traditional calls and texts could be done, but there’s no reason to charge more for doing so. Your web browsing, app downloading, and content streaming would all come through the same usage allowance as your calls. I know many people pay for way more minutes than they actually use simply because there’s no cheaper option available. The buckets would eliminate this problem.

Beyond monthly costs, there’s one other big advantage to this system: device freedom. Right now, carriers want you to have a separate plan for a 3G connected tablet, or get a tethering plan, which costs a lot extra for using your existing data connection that you already pay for. But with the bucket system, you just pop your SIM card into a tablet or another phone, even a computer, and just keep on going. ASUS is attacking this problem head on with two different devices. The Padfone turns your phone into a tablet and there’s really no reason for the carrier to know about it. The Eee Pad MeMo 3D is a 3G-enabled Android tablet that comes with the MeMic Bluetooth handset that is the perfect size to hold up to your face to talk, or use as a remote control. A carrier using the bucket system wouldn’t care at all what device you were using since its now all the same stuff to everyone involved.

The only sacrifice that would be made for consumers would be the loss of unlimited data plans. But let’s face it, they are on their way out anyway. AT&T ditched them a while ago, and Verizon is maybe only weeks away from following suit. T-Mobile’s plans now have roofs that don’t cost extra to pass, but you’ll have your service throttled significantly down in speed. Sprint aims to be the final carrier to offer the truly unlimited data plan. But the bucket system wouldn’t need unlimited most likely anyway, under one condition: What you do when connected to Wifi does not touch your limit. This only makes sense because the wireless provider isn’t the pipe, the ISP is. AT&T’s limited data plans do this now, but talking on the phone should follow this same rule. T-Mobile is the only carrier that chooses to allow WiFi calling, but all WiFi enabled phones on all carriers are capable of it. Since the bucket system does away with minutes, they’d have no reason to continue this practice. The transition might be hard to explain to the average consumer at first, but there could easily be simple tools to convert minutes used and texts sent from their previous plans into gigabyte form.

The problem is getting the carriers on board. As far as I’m concerned, only one carrier would actually go for it at this point: Sprint. AT&T and Verizon would certainly not jump in on this until someone else did first. T-Mobile was a progressive company, but due to the potential AT&T buyout, they’d never make such a drastic change. That leaves Sprint, and they now hold the title for most progressive, as proven by their crazy move to integrate their services with Google Voice. They have a network capable of handling it and the need to attract more customers. And I know I’m not the only person attracted to this idea. Carriers could still offer contracts for those who want cheaper devices, something that would keep them very happy. This would also push a lot of people into a smartphone, meaning more sales revenue for manufacturers. I think that, if done properly, everyone involved would benefit greatly from this kind of arrangement. Now to see if it ever actually happens.

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>HTC EVO 3D Gets Official Price and Release Date

>After far too long of waiting, Sprint has finally finalized the details of its forthcoming flagship handset. The HTC EVO 3D will be hitting the sales floor on June 24th for the expected $200 price point. Preorders are still ongoing at Sprint stores, RadioShack, Target Mobile, and BestBuy.

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>Summer Cell Phone Buying Guide: Sprint

Summer is upon us and many people get their upgrades or look switch things up this time of year. Be it for school, work, or play, over the next few days we’ll be helping you find the hottest handset to start the summer off right, one carrier at a time. Keep in mind, all the pricing we list is from the carriers themselves. Obviously you can shop around and find your next phone for a lot cheaper.

Best of the Best: Samsung Nexus S 4G
If you’re looking to get the absolute best phone that Sprint has to offer, you gotta grab a Samsung Nexus S 4G. For $200, you’re going to get Android 2.3 on a beautiful 4” Super AMOLED screen, 4G data, 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 5 megapixel camera with 720p video on the back, and a VGA cam in the front for video conferencing. It comes with 16GB of internal memory in addition to a microSD card slot. You’ll get access to Google Wallet with the NFC chip (when it launches in your city), and most importantly, it is uninhibited Android. No carrier customization, no bloatware, just the real deal.

Runner Up: Samsung Epic 4G


Best for the Least: LG Optimus S
Not looking to break the bank but still want all the goodness? The LG Optimus S is a pretty solid phone for the great price of $0. It’s a little weak with just a 600MHz processor, but it runs Android 2.2 quite well. You get a basic 3 megapixel camera but without a flash. It doesn’t seem like it should be a good phone, but it will surprise you. There’s less lag than you’d expect on most apps you’d use daily like Facebook, Twitter, and texting, and it still plays Angry Birds pretty well.

Runner Up: BlackBerry Style


Best Non-Android: HTC Arrive
Not down with the Droid? The HTC Arrive is going to be worth a look. This Windows Phone 7 device has a nice 3.6” touchscreen with a slide out QWERTY keyboard. When the keyboard is out, the screen pops up a bit too for a great view while you’re tapping away. The 1GHz processor runs the latest version of WP7 very well, the 5 megapixel camera works very well, and you’ve got 16GB of memory to work with. It’ll set you back $200, but you really won’t be disappointed.


What To Look Forward To: HTC EVO 3D
We’ve talked about it before, but the HTC EVO 3D will be upon us somewhat soon. The successor to the EVO 4G will look pretty similar with it’s 4.3” screen running Android on Sprint’s 4G network, but that’s where the similarities end. The EVO’s screen is qHD on 2D, and rocks the glasses-free stereoscopic 3D, which will work great on The Green Hornet, which comes preloaded. You have a 1GHz dual-core processor to help the dual 5 megapixel cameras for 3D pictures and video taking. It’s not official, but you can expect it for $200 sometime in the near future.

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>Google Announces Google Wallet, Google Offers

>Today, Google announced possibly one of it’s biggest initiatives to date, Google Wallet. Wallet will attempt to almost completely replace your wallet, money clip, or pocket book with just your smartphone. Using Near Field Communication, or NFC, chips, phones will be able to interact with existing MasterCard PayPass equipment at the register of stores, and of course new equipment will be coming out for it on both the consumer and business side.

When you first load the Google Wallet app up, you can enter in existing MasterCard (for now, more to follow) credit or debit cards, as well as a prepaid Google Card for you Visa and AmEx users. You will select a PIN, just like its plastic counterpart. When you get to checkout, you tap your phone to the PayPass reader, enter the PIN, and you’re done. But that’s not it. Vendors will also allow you to tie your loyalty and membership cards to your phone as well.

Even if you’re not interested in ditching the leather and plastic, Google will be launching Google Deals as well. It’s only in beta and available in Portland, New York City, and San Francisco for now, but more will be coming soon. While it may just look like a Groupon clone, sending you a single local offer a day, it does tie in with Wallet and also includes check-in deals (like 4Square) and you’ll start seeing NFC equipped ads. The email will have links to print the coupon or have it sent to your Wallet. And Wallet will take care of the whole thing in one fell swoop. So when you go to buy your jeans, it will take off the coupon amount, add in loyalty bonuses, and pay, all in one tap.

Overall, it’s pretty cool stuff, but there are some security concerns. Google promises that all of your sensitive information will be contained in the NFC  chip only, and that there are multiple layers of security under the PIN code, but no electronic system is perfect. NFC payments have been huge in Japan for many years, so it is a doable system, it just remains to be seen if many companies other than the ones mentioned will get behind it. That said, Google is off to a strong start, partnering up with MasterCard and big companies like American Eagle, Subway, RadioShack, Walgreens, CVS, and many gas stations.

The other big problem is that right now only one phone is equipped with the NFC chip: the Samsung Nexus S, and that phone is only on the two smallest carriers in the US, Sprint and T-Mobile. And so far, only Sprint is on board. Google did say that Motorola and HTC are also committed to making more NFC equipped devices soon, but until a few really big ones hit on every carrier (and a bump from Apple couldn’t help either), then it remains to be seen if Wallet will take off, or if it will end up like their last W project: Wave. The trials start immediately in NYC and San Fran, with nationwide launch scheduled for later this summer. We’ll keep you posted here!

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>HTC EVO 3D to Cost $200, Include Green Hornet and Bad Music?

>Earlier this week, Sprint and RadioShack (and its affiliate Target Mobile) started taking preorders for the HTC EVO 3D, despite the fact that release price and date still haven’t been confirmed. Well, it looks like only half of that might remain true. The folks over at Good and EVO have leaked a RadioShack ad confirming that the EVO 3D will not only drop for the normal contract price of $200 ($500 if you don’t like commitment), but it will also come preloaded with The Green Hornet in 3D. If you buy at RadioShack, you’ll also get a free song from The Black Eyed Peas. While that might not be the best selling point, you can also take them your current EVO or EVO Shift and get a guaranteed $100 trade in. Not a bad deal. Still don’t know when this guy will be released, but with all this coming out in the last week, it has to be pretty soon.

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>HTC EVO 3D and View 4G Preorders Are Go!

>Are you looking for your next Sprint upgrade? Just have an affinity for 3D screens? Or do you love HTC so much you need their tablet? Good news then. Sprint is now officially accepting pre-orders for both the HTC EVO 3D and the HTC Flier 4G. Strangely, RadioShack and Target Mobile beat them to the punch on the EVO 3D preorders, but all three places will take just $50 of your pocket money for the guarantee of getting a device on Day One. Problem is, no one knows when Day One for either device is. Or how much they will actually cost come Day One. But no matter when and for how much, you’ll get one that day, and the $50 is put towards the purchase price.

To recap, the HTC EVO 3D is the US’ first 3D phone, with a 4.3″ qHD screen similar to the 3DS. No glasses required. You also have a 1.2GHz dual-core processor to help handle the dual 5 megapixel cameras on the back for 3D pictures and video. It will run HTC’s newest version of Sense on top of Android 2.3. The Flyer is HTC’s first tablet, rocking a 7″ screen and Android. What sets this one apart is that you can also buy a special stylus for input, making it very easy to draw and write notes.

So who’s getting one?

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