sprint

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Closer Look: Treo 800w's unique GPS Plugin

One neat feature that we've mentioned recently in our Podcast was Palm's unique "Maps" program and Today Plugin, which is nicely tied into the phone's aGPS system.

Palm has always done a nice job in marrying the hardware to the software and instead of just slapping some GPS on the phone, they actually made it...well, useful and easy.

Here are a couple of interesting things gleaned from past scoops and the recently released user manual...

Read on for more details on the 800w's GPS capabilities...

Features:

  • Look up a contact's location directly from your Today screen (p240)
  • Find people, restaurants, movies, etc. using the GPS Today plugin (p182)
  • Map your current, recent, and street locations

It also appears that at least for some of these functions, it uses the much superior assisted-GPS system, meaning your current geographical location should happen within seconds, as opposed to the longer "cold start" of traditional GPS systems (read our GPS vs aGPS tutorial here). This should make it faster than the Sprint Touch, Mogul and Q9c which don't use the assistance servers out-of-the-box. Stay tuned for more details.

Basically how it works is while on the today screen, you can just type the name of your contact, hold down the center key and select the "Find" menu entry. The GPS will then map that contact's address directly on the screen.

The other unique feature involves the "Point of Interest" plugin which is sort of like having Microsoft's Live Search built right in to the Today screen. All you do is type in whatever you are looking for and hit "enter" and it will look up and map the info directly, all based on your aGPS coordinates.

That brings us finally to that last aspect. the program "Maps". Not much is currently known about this except it looks like Goolge Maps (but isn't?) and it is not Live Search, though we understand both programs will work with the device's built in GPS. This app appears to be a custom mapping program that is streamlined and tied closely to the OS, for seamless integration.

Either way, these "little features" look to be quite useful and and at this point, unique to the Palm Treo 800w.

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2

Sprint Diamond: Launching September 2nd?

We know this sucka is testing at Sprint right now and we've seen some earlier roadmaps that said Q3, so this just confirms what we've already expected.

Basically it looks like Sprint is getting ready to launch the heralded HTC Touch Diamond (aka HTC MP 6950; the Sprint Touch is the 6900) on Tuesday, September 2nd. So start saving your cash now. Check out Dieter's great walk-through vid of what to expect.

This puts it at around the same time as Telus (who evidently are a lot more open about their Diamond love than Sprint or Verizon).

The specs are expected to be similar to what Telus/HTC announced, though who know what Sprint will do:

  • 101mm x 51mm x 14mm
  • EVDO Rev A
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Qualcomm MSM 7510A Processor running at 528MHz
  • 256 ROM, 256 RAM, 4 Gigs internal (no expansion)
  • Opera 9.5 for the browser
  • Camera is still 3.2mp, screen is still 640x480
  • The battery gets a big bump: it's 1340 mAh

Oho yeah and there's the 1st "glamor shot" of the Treo 800w, which is launching this week...you know, in case you haven't heard.

Via GTX at Sprintusers (original photo)

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HTC 'Neon 400' may be a CDMA Touch Dual

While you were busy spending your Independence Day stuffing yourself with hot dogs and hamburgers, another iteration of HTC's Touch Dual was working its way through the FCC.

As Endgadget Mobile points out, the "Neon" designation points to the Touch family, and the FCC testing shows a CDMA radio.

So, customers of Alltel/Verizon and/or Sprint or may have another Windows Mobile device (and big brother to the keypadless HTC Touch, which all two three carriers are currently selling) to look forward to in the coming months.

And for a look at what may be in store (minus carrier customizations, of course), check out Dieter's recent review of the unlocked GSM Touch Dual.

NEON400 FCC filing

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1

Treo 800w: Who Gets It and When?

Things we know about the Treo 800w: it will launch on Sprint first for $249 with contract on July 13th (or 10th for those willing to hunt it down early via backchannels), then eventually come to Verizon. Phone arena has heard the same, but wonders: why the delay with Verizon. Typically these things are delayed because of an exclusivity deal, but we're not really thinking that's the case here. See, during the last Quarterly Conference call, Palm CEO Ed Colligan stated that there are not any exclusive deals:

You know, each one of the different launches will have a little different dynamics and -- but in general, they will be pretty broadly distributed early out the gate, and so I wouldn’t -- you know, they are not going to be exclusive for any period of time, you know, in any particular region.

Of course, Colligan could be referring to some sort of permanent exclusivity, but we're doubting it. As Malatesta has noted during our podcast, Sprint isn't exactly in any kind of place to be spending money on guaranteeing exclusivity and Palm isn't in any kind of place to be risking having their only high margin Treo available on a single carrier. So we're going with the delay on Verizon being due to the fact that Verizon is famously rigorous with their device testing and approval process.

We promise, the wall-to-wall coverage of the Treo 800w will eventually give way to actual hands-on experience with the device, it has to soon, because the sucker is due out on Sprint within a week. We're going to hold our drawing for the Rumortastic Treo 800w giveaway on the official launch day, which we're still assuming will be July 13th. It might make a few of y'all have to wait an extra day or so to go out and buy yours, but we hope it's worth it.

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Sprint finally responded to the brooha of confusing and contradicting information floating around regarding reported plan changes. They state rather unequivocally that they have no plans to change requirements for those lucky enough to have SERO accounts, regardless of device type (pda, smartphone, etc.) and they won't be changing that in the future.

Phew!

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We already know that the Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrade for the Sprint Touch is due any minute - the unofficially official ROM leak told us that much. Now we know a bit more -- a post in the Sprint Application Developers forum (by way of Gear Diary) spills the beans: “first part of July” is the target. The improvements are about what you'd expect from a full Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrade with GPS support, though we suppose it's worth mentioning that EDVO Rev A, a new communications manager, and “2 icons for rotating the screen” on HTC's launcher will also be included.

'Course, being who we are, now all we want to know is when Sprint will catch up with their neighbors to the north and bring us the HTC Diamond.

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4

Sprint's AIRAVE going nationwide July 15?

 

Man, oh man, July is getting to be a wee ... bit ... busy ...

After a successful test this spring, Sprint's AIRAVE service is rumored to be going nationwide on July 15, and possibly turning America into one giant cell tower.

AIRAVE hooks into your existing home broadband service and effectively becomes a miniature cell tower, boosting your signal in otherwise poor areas. And unlike T-Mobile's Hotspot @ Home service, Sprint's AIRAVE will work with any Sprint phone (up to three at once) and not just a specialized UMA device.

Dial *99 from your Sprint phone to see if AIRAVE is available in your neck of the woods yet. You'll also need decent line of sight for GPS (for E911) and a free Ethernet port.

But the question remains: Are you willing to spend another $15 a month to increase your own cell signal?

Get the full lowdown at SprintEnterprise.com.

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Well looky here - the Sprint Diamond has been caught in the “wild” by ksemt7781 of PPCGeeks. We know it's legit because it comes from Mr. Blurrycam (alright, technically it comes from a Mogul, a distant cousin to Mr. Blurrycam). It looks pretty much identical to the original Touch Diamond we showed you in video and images -- we say “pretty much” because the Sprint Diamond looks to have a bit more of a curve at the top and the bottom and a slightly different skin to TouchFLO 3D -- looks like Sprint's tradition of putting their junk into HTC's custom interface (and HTC's tradition of letting them) has a good chance of continuing.

We put the “wild” in scare quotes because technically it's in testing at Sprint now, we can't wait until it's in testing at WMExperts HQ.

Thanks to Jon for the tip!

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So the big rumor floating around the 'nets these days is that Sprint is set to increase the cost of PDA plans for all smartphones. More specifically, they will require you to sign up for one of their "Simply Everything" plans.

What does that mean? Currently, Sprint users can opt to pay a very reasonable $15 for basic "Power Vision" + Voice plan, which gives them just unlimited data over 3g ($20 and $25 plans include extras).

The "Simply Everything" plan starts at $69 but includes 450 minutes voice, data, text, e-mail, Web-surfing, Sprint TV, Sprint Music, GPS Navigation, Direct Connect and Group Connect (it goes up to $99 for unlimited voice). That's actually a very cool package and very competitive.

The rumor, however, is that anyone buying a new smartphone starting July 13th (that date sound familiar?) will be forced to activate the phone with the minimum $69 plan--even existing customers in contract. And SERO plans may be included as well (Read: What is SERO?).

Yikes.

Unfortunately, there is precedent for this: the much hyped Samsung Instinct requires exactly such a plan, even under SERO.

For "new" customers to Sprint (we've heard they have a couple), these plans are actually quite attractive, but for current subscribers who have a better details...it's flat out scary (e.g. my cost after taxes would nearly triple).

What to do? Well, we'll just have to wait and see we suppose. It's still not clear if doing and ESN swap online will be affected, though it may just be, in which case signing that contract now and buying a new PDA full price won't even save you.

Stay tuned.

Via Sprintusers

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3

Sprint and Q9c: EOL'ed or not?

We were more than a little dubious about whether or not the Sprint Q9c was really “End of Life'd” when we reported it on the 19th. After all, Sprint and Motorola had very recently released the Windows Mobile 6.1 upgrade for the device and the only other device in the same class on Sprint's network is the Samsung Ace. The Ace is a perfectly good device (global roaming is always good), but it lacks the power, fit, and finish of the Q9c.

I heard from a Sprint rep at a store that the device was pulled because “there were too many problems with it,” but I chalked that up to just a rep needing to give somebody an explanation. Looks like I'm not the only one, though, as MoDaCo is getting similar reports from their users:

Thank you for your patience, Sprint is trying to get the Moto Q because of all of the problems with the phone.

Ouch. Yet another black eye for Motorola? We still don't know what's really going on here -- we haven't heard anything especially bad about the Q9c. Maybe Sprint just wants to find a way to put yet more Sprint-banded “buy our stuff” applications on the device and so they've pulled it in the interim. Or maybe, just maybe, they're trying to help out their Instinct sales by pulling the competition off the shelves (Update: looks like cadman had the same idea before I did -- see the comments here). Or maybe it's aliens. Yeah, definitely aliens.

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Ahh...right on time for our weekly leak of Treo 800w info and/or blurry spy pics. Not much to say here, just look on with envy or scorn for you square haters. Oh and we now know that it comes with unicorns and puppies. Now are you intrigued?

Note: these are clearly early tester versions, not final release/design. How to tell?
(1) blurred our serial number top right corner (2) not the final paint scheme

Thanks Matthew_Love84!

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Sprint Ready for Two-Way Internet Video?

Although we're wont to complain about how Europeans have it better, coverage and services-wise, than we do here in the states, the reality is we're actually relatively happy with how data goes here -- unlimited FTW. One sore point, though, is that all that unlimited data still can't be used to two-way video conferencing in any widespread or reliable way. Enter Sprint, who is still trying to make the argument that they're not on their way to oblivion.

Cellular-News has the details on how Sprint announced that they will be delivering data speeds fast enough to handle two-way video conferencing. Its said to be used for mainly police, firefighters and schools, but it would only be a matter of time before your average Joe hooked up to some video chat. This all has to go through the red tape of the wireless regulators first, but it looks like it might just make it (hint to other companies: focusing on how your new service will help firefighters a good way to push it through committee). Now all Sprint has to do is get their WiMAX internet up and running smoothly.

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8

Sprint Treo 800w date confirmed: July 13th

A ways back we said the date for the much anticipated (well, for a few of us at least) Palm Treo 800w was July 22nd.

Then newer info popped up suggesting it got bumped to July 13th.

Looks like that latter date is turning out to be correct as what looks like to be a scanned inventory sheet for Sprint was posted at HowardForums. The sheet also confirms our scoop that the 800w will sport a button on top of the device to toggle WiFi on/off.

The launch also appears to be available a few days earlier Wed, July 9th for business partners (BP) of Sprint which is not that unusual (Edit: klmsu19 in the comments points out "BP" probably stands for BrightPoint, "a global leader in the distribution of wireless devices and the provisioning of customized logistic services to the wireless industry").

Start saving those bucks as full retail price will be $599.99 and we're expecting it to be $249.99 after contract and rebates.

Oh yeah and don't forget about that Treo 800w giveaway contest ;-) Remember, July 13th and we suppose July 9th are off-limits!

Thanks Commo for the tip!

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2

Sprint Motorola Q9c End-of-Lifed?

Alright, Motorola, this just might be the last of many last straws. Or it's the straw that's going to break the camel's back. It's getting so easy to beat up on your lately, it's like you're a straw man. Straw.

The bad news we refer to? EverythingQ is getting reports that not only are you not stocking the Q9c on Sprint's website, but Sprint's reps are saying that it won't be restocked, that it's done. There's nothing coming down the pike that we know of either. Well, there's that “Mystery Q” you let drop in a Promo video, but our shot of it shows that it's clearly a GSM device.

So if the Q9c is really EOL'd for Sprint, is that it? The Q9 series is pretty much the only bright spot you guys have lately and now you're screwing that up, what with the alphabet soup of confusing additions to the Q9 brand and then this? Motorola Q9c, “the c is for C-YA!”

We're hoping not, because finding good news for Motorola lately is like looking for a needle in a haystack (of straw). Here's a hint: that needle would be a re-vamped Q9 with WiFi included, just like that strange Q9h that BGR got ahold of.

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We still don't have any better pics of the finalized version, but evidently Sprint is gearing up their internal promo materials for the Palm 800w (expected in mid July for $249.99) as some lovely 'coolgal' dropped us all the deets. Score.

And since this jives what we've been hearing (and sometimes keeping mum about) for the last few months, we're very confident in the accuracy and even eye numbing detail.

For brevity, we'll just stick to the majors and the new stuff, but click here for coolgal's full list, in case you're really, really curious and our older one here.

Radio - CDMA 800 (Digital Cellular), 1900 (PCS), and 1.5GHz (GPS) - EVDO and 1XRTT

Phone Features - Personal speakerphone - MicroUSB standard B connector (2.0-compliant; for sync cable, charger, and audio accessories) - External antenna port - Microphone mute option - HAC compatible (M4/T4 rating)

Processor technology - TI processor, 333MHz

Expansion - microSD/SDHC card slot

Operating system - Windows Mobile

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Ah...and here I thought I was going to get by this week without posting any Treo 800w info.

Guess not what with a certain something on the down-low wrapping up this week. So good morning to everyone as we have a slathering of rumortastic info for you, including two more traditional blurry shots (see above and below) of the very long awaited Treo 700wx successor, the 800w.

(Fret not Verizon fans...read our earlier post on the Verizon 800w, if you're jonesing)

Keep reading for price, specs and a ton of other info info after the jump...

First up: we're hearing that the 800w will finally drop on Sprint on Sunday, July 13th. That puts it ahead by 9 days our date of July 22nd--curse you Sprint! Well, it still remains to be seen what the final release day will be, but we're getting close. (What, YOU know the date? Well throw her up in our contest thread already! And yes, July 13th is now also off limits for future guessing. So complicated)

The price is $249.99 (of course with "instant savings" and a mail-in-rebate)--if true, that's actually a very sweet price and should enable the 800w to go up RIM quite nicely.

What else can we dig up?

How about the battery is now confirmed at being a not-too-shabby (but hardly hulked out) 1150mah. If that sounds familiar it is because the Palm Centro uses that same size battery and in fact is the exact same battery. Yikes. So similar we are hearing that new Centros have a battery that even says "STD battery for 690/800w". That sure seems convenient for someone.

Oh and those new leaked pictures above? That is still a tester unit (see the blurred out serial). We're still expecting a few more shiny additions to the finalized version, so while the Black Charcoal which we 1st reported is accurate, expect a wee bit more pizazz in a few more weeks ;-)

And last but not least, if you need a re-count of what we know for device specs, here ya go:

  • MSM-6800 chipset
  • ~100mb of Program / ~170mb of Storage Memory (both after OS)
  • WM 6.1 (5.2.1944)
  • ARM1136 processor
  • WiFi
  • Soft touch paint
  • Dedicated Wifi button + Ringer switch on top
  • Micro-USB connector
  • 2.1mp camera
  • No headphone jack (uses microUSB to 3.5mm adapter)
  • 1150mah battery

Plus the usual:

  • 320x320
  • RevA (on release?)
  • GPS (network independent)
  • Palm Threaded SMS

So whaddya think? Palm has a winner or a snoozer here? Sound off!

Thanks to BigChris for the heads up!

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So last week we reported that Sprint, like all the other carriers, will be putting a 5gb/month cap on data use.

Although 5gb is a lot of data and honestly with RevA devices coming around, we sort of understand where Sprint may be concerned. Still, considering they were the last hold outs on such a cap and yet all these companies still do the " * Unlimited Data" asterisks thingy, it was a bit disconcerting.

Kent German at Crave.net has received some clarification from Sprint on the exact details and low and behold, Sprint is actually doing the right thing here: the data cap does not apply to the "Simply Everything" plans; just "Phone as Modem" and Data cards.

Basically, if you're just using your WM device for streaming, etc. you should not have a problem. To be specific, Sprint outlines these restrictions:

  • The vast majority of current users (about 99.5 percent) shouldn't be affected. Whether it's the 300MB roaming limit or the 5GB limit on total data usage, that's enough data to meet the regular monthly usage habits of almost all of our customers.
  • Going over either limit will not cause a card to suddenly stop working.
  • Going over once in a while is OK. We'll check usage using a rolling, three-month basis.
  • Customers would have to exceed the limit in two out of three consecutive months to face termination.
  • Initially, we are contacting customers first, to make them aware of the new limits and give them a chance to change their usage, if they want to continue using the service.
  • We're investigating additional options for customers who need to use more data.
  • Users will be able to check and monitor their total data usage on Sprint.com beginning June 8.
  • The caps are being applied to new and existing consumer and individual-liable accounts, but not corporate-liable, business contracts, Public Sector, or government contracts. We're working on additional processes and pricing to appropriately address the needs of heavy roaming and data users among the corporate liable customer group.

So, not too bad at all. Lets just hope this does not have any side effects for heavy users.

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After rumors of spinning off Nextel, rumors of getting bought out by Deutsche Telekom, and making some sort of weird combination of declaring uncle and making a Hail Mary pass by creating a new, separate WiMAX company... after all that we weren't exactly expecting Sprint to report anything very good about the past three months. We don't want to say it was worse than we expected, because it wasn't. Of course, we were expecting that the entire company would explode like a Death Star with a proton torpedo in its reactor vent shaft, so it would have been pretty tough for them stoop that low.

Their press release has the lowlights:

  • Loss of $253 million on $8 billion in revenue. Revenue was down 9% over last year and last year they made $253 million in profits. So that's bad.
  • Loss of 1.09 million subscribers, the vast majority of whom where standard, “post-paid” subscribers.
  • Their Average Revenue Per User (aka ARPU, who is the angry, vengeful god of wireless carriers) was down 6% over last year as well.

“As expected, our Wireless business delivered weak financial results. While the business will continue to face challenges in the short term, we are making progress in methodically attacking the sources of our performance issues. In the first quarter, we implemented a new, more focused brand campaign, we executed on our plans to take costs out of the business, and we made progress on the larger organizational and strategic decisions that we believe will lead to improved profitability in the long term,” said Dan Hesse, Sprint Nextel CEO

That Treo 800w better get released on July 22nd as expected, both Sprint and Palm are gonna need it.

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2

Sprint: even more bad news

So as Dieter is n/a today (hanging with some RIM geeks), it pains me to have to take the reigns and write more bad Sprint news articles--but who can ignore such a calamity?

Evidently, to help stem the loss of all that revenue and subscribers, Sprint is doing what every corporation does in that situation: fire..err..layoff people, usually the bottom tier of course (don't get me started on labor issues).

More precisely, they are planning to

  • cut 4,000 jobs
  • close stores
  • lower wireless phone plans

Everything must go! We will not be undersold!

That lowering of price-plans sounds nifty. Then again, if you're sly enough to be on SERO or are another carrier, you probably already noticed Sprint's "other plans" and have decided for other reasons not to sign up (phone lineup, coverage, customer service)--lets be clear, Sprint already has some of the most competitive plans on the block, so it seems odd that lowering them even more will help.

Yikes. Please pull through Sprint as personally I can't take the "other" guys.

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