In a press release today, Sprint announced the successor for its push-to-talk (PTT) iDEN network, Sprint Direct Connect. Running on the company’s nationwide CDMA network, Direct Connect will offer users a larger coverage footprint, improved in-building coverage, and increased voice and data capacity. The new protocol will also add several new features, including 200 participant Direct Connect sessions, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) interoperability, and availability notifications. The company expects the move to increase the number of devices that incorporate the Direct Connect service — the press release specifies that an “Android smartphone” along with sets from Motorola and Kyocera are due in the near future. “During the nationwide implementation of Network Vision, Sprint expects to continue operating the iDEN network at current best-ever performance levels,” reads the press release. “As the customer base shifts to more broadband-centric push-to-talk applications on the CDMA network and Sprint launches Sprint Direct Connect, iDEN cell sites are expected to be phased out in 2013.” The Direct Connect service will launch later this year. The full press release is after the break. More →
HTC is circulating the above invite to members of the press taunting them to visit London on September 15th to see exactly what they’ve “dreamt up.” We’re secretly hoping that this will be the unveiling of the company’s first Windows Phone 7 handheld, but we have a feeling that it may be a little early for WP7 just yet; in that case this probably is a new Android device (hopefully not just for those folks who live across the pond). Rumored HTC devices on the table thus far are the Vanguard/Vision, Desire HD, Glacier, Schubert, and Mozart. Any guesses and/or preferences as to what HTC might have in store for us?
T-Mobile launched a teaser web page for a mystery HSPA+ handset yesterday, but conveniently failed to remove some clues that point to the identity of the handset. A quick scan of the source code for the webpage reveals references to the Vanguard, an alternative name for the G1 Blaze which is also known as the HTC Vision. The Vanguard/G1 Blaze/Vision is rumored to have a 3.7 inch display, 1GHz processor, HSPA+, side-sliding QWERTY keyboard, optical trackpad, and Android 2.1 or later. With up to a theoretical 21Mbps, does anyone find the HSPA+ G1 Blaze more compelling than the WiMAX-enabled Epic 4G?
Croatian blog njuskalo.hr has an image of what appears to be the HTC Vision; possibly one of HTC’s first high-end, full-QWERTY Android offerings. Details on the device are unconfirmed and extremely scarce, however njuskalo.hr sources indicate that the device has a 3.7″ touch-screen, 1 GHz processor and Android 2.1. From the image we can see a full-QWERTY slide-out keyboard (reminiscent of the Touch Pro 2), optical trackpad, and the units apparent use of a SIM card. We certainly could use more high-quality, full-QWERTY, Android offerings…so we hope this one makes its way out of the lab and onto the production line.
Here’s a great rumor to think about as we head into the weekend. Tweakers is reporting that the HTC Vision, a rumored Android smartphone we first learned about from Engadget, is in fact a variant of the Desire complete with a sliding QWERTY keypad. This information comes straight from the phone’s UAProfile, which is said to be identical to the Desire’s in every other way (i.e. a 3.7″ WVGA display, 5 megapixel camera and 1GHz processor). Whether or not it runs Android 2.1 or 2.2 is really the question of the day. Well, that and the the rumor the Vision is headed straight for T-Mobile. Whether that means T-Mobile in Europe or T-Mobile in the good ol’ US of A is the question…we’re dying to see solved ASAP. More →
Chock this one up to the rumor mill for the time being, but word on the street is that Sprint is getting set to increase data costs for new and old customers alike. According to the SprintUsers site, the carrier will be axing their current standalone Vision and Power Vision plans, which start at $15/month, in favor of mandatory Everything plans that begin at $69/month. Sure, the new plans include voice minutes, Sprint TV, GPS nav, and more, but for anyone that was signed up for a simple data-only plan, this will represent a significant cost hike. What’s worse, we’re hearing word that SERO subscribers could be affected, which means that anyone on the current $30 all-in plan could see another $39 on their bill starting next month. Yipes! Again, treat this with caution right now, but if Sprint starts forcibly migrating existing customers to a higher rate plan, we’re pretty sure some heads will roll.
Just in time for the arrival of the Samsung Instinct, Sprint is preparing to unleash a new set of plans on an unsuspecting public. Starting June 15th, the carrier will be making a number of significant changes. The full rundown is detailed below, but expect new single-user lines starting at $39 for 450 minutes, no more free incoming plans, and the end of separate pricing structures for Sprint and Nextel handsets. The ever-exploitable SERO plan remains ripe for the picking, but will sadly not be compatible with the upcoming Instinct. Check out the full list of changes:
- There will no longer be separate CDMA (Sprint) and iDen (Nextel) plans
- Power Pack and Free Incoming plans are gonzo
- Users can mix and match CDMA and iDen on the same plans (before you had to have separate accounts)
- Single user lines start at 450 or 900 min for $39 and $59 respectively
- Talk/Message/Connect gives unlimited messaging and Direct Connect (Walkie Talkie) but no data – $49.99 for 450 minutes, $69.99 for 900 minute or $89.99 for unlimited.
- Everything Plans (include messaging and data) – $69 for 450 minutes, $89 for 900 minutes or $99 for unlimited minutes
- Unlimited plans include navigation, TV and Direct Connect
- Smartphone MUST be activated on a talk plan with a Vision Pro pack ($30) – or on an Everything plan
- Share plans (aka Talk Share) start at $69.99 for two lines with 700 minutes – add a phone is $9.99 per to a max of 5 total phones on the line
- The Talk/Message Share plans run $99.99 and $149.99 for 1500 and 3000 minutes and unlimited messaging, additional lines are also $9.99. Finally, the Talk/Message/Data Share plans run $129.99 or $169.99 for 1500 and 3000 minutes, unlimited messaging and data. Besides browsing, these plans include Sprint Navigation, Sprint TV and Sprint Radio. Additional lines can be added for $19.99 apiece.