sprint

American carriers are making progress in being more open and customer-friendly — particularly T-Mobile — but Sprint is preparing to take a significant step forward by ensuring that the devices they sell to customers are able to be SIM unlocked. Eventually. In 2015. In an FAQ on Sprint's unlocking policy, the company states that they are "working to ensure that all devices developed and launched on or after February 11, 2015 are capable of being unlocked domestically."

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Sprint is getting a little “uncarrier” themselves with a new promotion that offers to pay your early termination fees if you’re willing to switch to them. You can get up to $350 for every line terminated when making the switch; just snap a picture of your last bill, send it to Sprint, and they’ll send you a Visa card with the cash on it. There are a few terms and conditions here and there, but you can read all of that at Sprint’s site starting tomorrow. The promotion will run from April 4 until May 8.

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Believe it or not the Windows Phone Update 3 (also known as GDR3) is being pushed out to the Sprint HTC 8XT.

We were skeptical at first but in checking Sprint's Support Site for the 8XT, the update is listed as clear as day. Update version 2.12.651.02 is described as containing streaming audio improvements, accessibility improvements and Microsoft's GDR3 release.

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While it’s not uncommon to see new phones get price drops, especially through third party retailers like Amazon.com whose business is to undercut the carriers, it is a bit unusual to see a carrier lower the price too quickly. Such is the case with the HTC 8XT (review) and the Samsung ATIV S Neo.

The HTC 8XT, which was released on July 19th, initially sold for $99 on a two-year contract. Starting this past weekend, the price has dropped to free, though you still need to send in the $50 mail-in rebate. Likewise, the Samsung ATIV S Neo, which has only been available for 10 days (with a limited rollout), has also had a $100 haircut going from $149.99 to a more reasonable $49.99 (also after a mail-in rebate).

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Although the Sprint Samsung ATIV S Neo went officially on sale today, you won’t be able to run to your local store to pick one up. At least that’s what we’re hearing from colleagues and fellow readers like yourselves.

Evidently, customers who wander in to a Sprint store to pick up the latest and greatest Windows Phone 8 device will be told that it is “direct ship only” meaning no in store availability. This news was reportedly reiterated in the Sprint weekly newsletter sent out to customers today. In addition, Best Buy is now listing the phone for a $149 price tag too but it’s not available online (or in brick and mortar). We haven’t checked Microsoft Stores but so far, they only have the 8XT listed.

That’s all bad news if people were expecting to grab the phone for the weekend as it means you’ll have to get it shipped and wait. We've also confirmed that at least two stores do not even have dummy units in place, which makes sense since in-store point-of-sales cannot occur.

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It was only the other day when we looked at Sprint announcing the Samsung ATIV S Neo, stating the Windows Phone would be available Friday 16th. Today's the day and the handset is now listed on the Sprint website, available for order. Priced at $149.99 with a 2-year agreement (new line or eligible upgrade), the Samsung ATIV S Neo brings a premium experience to the US network.

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HTC was working with US mobile operator Sprint to introduce a colour customisation tool for the HTC 8XT, according to The Verge's sources. The online personalisation service would enable consumers to add and change colours on the HTC Windows Phone, offering more options that help make the purchase that much more unique. HTC Design Studio, as it was known, was dropped due to cost and complexity.

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There has been plenty of information that we presented recently leading up to August 16th as the release date for Sprint and the ATIV S Neo. Now the CDMA carrier has come forth with an official announcement on the device and have confirmed that date.

According to the press statement, the Samsung ATIV S Neo will go on sale Friday, Aug. 16, in direct ship sales channels, including Sprint Stores, Business Sales, Web Sales and Telesales at 1-800-SPRINT1, for $149.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade, two-year service agreement and $50 mail-in rebate via reward card, confirming what we reported earlier.

The rest of the specifications are also in line with what we previously reported, including a dual core 1.4GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage (and up to 64GB expandable), a 4.8-inch TFT LCD display (1280x720) and a removable 2000 mAh battery.

Full press release below…

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What started as a trickle has turned into a flood as more and more evidence is confirming a Friday, August 16th release for the much anticipated Sprint Samsung ATIV S Neo with Windows Phone 8. Earlier we had accessories begin to arrive in stores and then Samsung listed the device with full specs on their website. Now, Sprint store and Samsung reps are starting to talk about the flagship Sprint Windows Phone.

Reader of the site Michael V. went to his local Sprint store this evening and while the store employee did not know the release date, she did have an information packet on the device, as seen below. However, what is more revealing was that a Samsung representative was there (they often stop by for training and device support, like Nokia) and he was able to look up the date and confirm a Friday launch.

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Yesterday we brought you the news of a new Body Glove case for the upcoming Sprint ATIV S Neo from Samsung that was appearing in Sprint stores. While in and of itself that news is not exciting, it did hint that an official release of the phone was close.

Today, things are moving even more as Samsung has listed the phone on their official site with the full specifications. As far as we know (and we could be wrong), this device page is new and it does confirm a few lingering questions. For one, the ATIV S Neo does have 16GB of internal storage and not 8GB as reported earlier. Combined with the up-to 64GB of expandable storage, the Neo should satisfy most users.

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On Sprint? Then you’re probably trying to find anything you can about the Samsung ATIV S Neo, an upcoming Windows Phone that is meant for the loquacious.  Based off of the similar ATIV S, the Neo will bring Windows Phone 8 GDR2 and a snappy 4.8-inch display to the beleaguered CDMA carrier, giving those customers something to brag about after a long dry spell.

Word had it that Sprint would sell the device starting on August 16th, which is in just four days. But with no announcement so far, that date may be slipping by unless the carrier just unleashes this Friday with zero fanfare (honestly, that’s quite possible).

Now we have a photo from a tipster showing us a case for the Neo, which in of itself is nothing exciting. Why it is interesting though is because the arrival of accessories implies that the launch is near. That means even if it doesn’t launch this Friday, the day you can pick one up is not very far off. (The case itself is a nifty Body Glove edition, which we’ve always enjoyed).

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Great news if you’re into the whole NASCAR racing sport as today, the official app to keep track of the race series is available to all Windows Phone 8 devices.

That’s the good news as the app is well designed and offers up race results, scheduling information and video clips. The bad news is if you want all the cool stuff, by which we mean access to the Live Race Center, you’ll need to be a Sprint customer.

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Sprint HTC 8XT Windows Phone review

Windows Phone Central's full review of the Sprint HTC 8XT, the first new Windows Phone 8 device exclusive to the US carrier

How does it go? "A long time ago, in a galaxy far away...."

Granted Sprint isn't a galaxy far away but it's been some time since we've seen a Windows Phone sitting in the wireless company's line-up.  When Sprint dropped the HTC Arrive, there were always rumors circulating on what would be the Sprint's next move.  Rumored dates kept on passing by and finally the HTC 8XT landed at Sprint as their first Windows Phone 8 device for 2013 (the Samsung ATIV S Neo is due to arrive in the coming weeks to keep it company).

There was joy in Mudville again with the release of the 8XT but would it satisfy the Sprint customers yearning for a new Windows Phone 8 experience?

The 8XT makes a solid first impression and it is very similar (like a long lost twin brother) to HTC's 8X. The HTC 8X is a quality Windows Phone as is, but HTC added a few more bells and whistles to the 8XT to give it a little more gusto (Data Sense, HTC's Camera App, Micro-SD slot, BoomSound, etc.). Is it enough to revive the Windows Phone market over at Sprint? You'll have to hit the break to see what we think...

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We know that Bluetooth 4.0 with low-energy support is coming to Windows Phone 8 sooner than later. Nokia has reportedly been hard at work getting their devices ready and we wouldn’t be shocked to see it come officially from Microsoft in GDR3, expected later this year.

In documents posted to the FCC on the upcoming Samsung ATIV S Neo, due on Sprint on August 16th, it’s revealed that the device has evidently been cleared with Bluetooth LE on board, meaning 4.0 status. That’s good news for those on Sprint waiting for a high end Windows Phone to carry them into 2014, as BT4.0 will ensure greater device capability, better battery usage and open new avenues for accessories.

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There's something very familiar about Sprint's new HTC 8XT Windows Phone. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.

The 8XT has the fit and feel of the HTC 8X and an appearance influenced by the HTC 8S. The colored front panel gives the Windows Phone a little pop to it's appearance and If you liked the HTC 8X, you'll like the 8XT just fine.

Sprint's re-entry into the Windows Phone market measures 5.2 x 2.6 x .39 inches and weighs in at 4.9 ounces. It shares the curved backing and soft, rubbery finish the 8X has and feels rather comfortable in the hand.

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Hey Sprint friends, some good news is coming your way.

You can finally now purchase a new device with Windows Phone 8 – the HTC 8XT. But if you’re not too keen on the low screen DPI on the 8XT you might be waiting for the Samsung ATIV S Neo for Sprint. Thankfully you don’t have to wait much longer, the device should be out within the month.

Details after the break.

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