By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Sprint's $129 Instinct multimedia touchscreen phone set a company sales record by becoming the fastest-selling handset of any type in its first week of availability, the company said.
Instinct, positioned as an iPhone competitor, became available June 19 to current Sprint subscribers and to all others on June 20. The iPhone 3G will make its debut on July 11.
Instinct demand created temporary shortages at some outlets, said Sprint wireless division president John Garcia. In the first few days of availability, "many" Instincts were purchased by existing Sprint subscribers, he added.
"Initial indications show extremely heavy use of the device for email access, Web browsing and GPS navigation with Live Search for Sprint," the company noted, pointing out that Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A network exceeds the square-mileage footprint of AT&T's 3G network by five times. The new iPhone 3G runs on the AT&T 3G network.
Sprint priced its Instinct touchscreen multimedia phone at $129 after a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract whose service plan includes unlimited data. Those plans start at $69.99/month, including voice minutes, and run up to $99.99 for unlimited voice and data. The Instinct price, which includes 2GB microSD memory card, comes in under iPhone 3G prices of $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for the 16GB model when activated with two-year AT&T contract that includes an unlimited data plan starting at $30 a month on top of a voice plan starting at $39.99 a month.
The Instinct price "is definitely lower than we initially expected," said a Sprint spokeswoman. Instinct distribution is open to indirect channels at launch, whereas the iPhone 3G will be available only through Apple- and AT&T-owned stores.
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