New AT&T Phones Get Enhanced Message Services

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AT&T Wireless

unveiled a quartet of quick-messaging handsets - two each from Samsung and Pantech - that will provide new messaging, contact-management, and video- and photo-sharing services, the carrier announced.

The services are designed for low-priced handsets starting at $19.99 during a limited-time promotion for a Samsung Strive with slide-down QWERTY keyboard, due in stores March 21 along with a Samsung full-touchscreen Sunburst at $39.99. The Sunburst will offer the new services at a later unannounced date, as will two Pantech models - the Link bar-style QWERTY-keyboard phone and the Pursuit with touchscreen and vertical sliding keyboard. The Link is due "in the coming weeks," and the Pursuit is due in the summer.

The Samsung models will be available in select AT&T stores and AT&T's Web site.

New enhanced messaging services enabled by the four new handsets include group messaging, reply-all capability for up to 10 contacts, threaded conversations and a consolidated in-box. The phones will also access a free online address book that automatically syncs with a handset when a new contact is entered on the handset. Users can also access their contact list from a PC and use a PC to import contacts from web-based email accounts. The new AT&T Mobile Share service will let users, for a fee, store up to 250MB of pictures and videos online for viewing on their handset or a PC. The fee is $10/month for 50 transfers, or 35 cents per transfer

None of the four models, a spokesperson told TWICE, feature Qualcomm's

Brew MP

operating system, designed to bring smartphone functionality to low-priced phones. Brew MP, designed to make feature phones more capable at affordable price points, enables the use of downloadable apps that are more robust than those currently available for phones that lack smartphone OSs, and it can run on lower end chipsets with lower speed and lower memory capacity while supporting Java and Adobe Flash.

AT&T previously said it plans to include Brew MP in all of its quick-messaging phones by 2011, rolling out the first ones beginning in the middle of this summer.

The 3G 850/1900MHz HSDPA-equipped Strive quick-messaging phone at an introductory $19.99 features vertical slide-out  QWERTY keyboard, threaded text messages with video and pictures, AT&T Navigator and Mobile Music, live-video sharing, 2-megapixel camera/camcorder and Bluetooth v2.0+EDR. It will be available in black/silver combination or purple/charcoal.

Samsung's full-touch Sunburst is a quadband GSM phone, according to a Samsung spec sheet. It features 3-inch resistive touchscreen, virtual keyboard, full browser, one-touch access to widgets, social-networking apps, 2-megapixel camera/camcorder, AT&T Navigator service, AT&T Mobile Music services, Bluetooth v2.0+EDR, and mobile email and IM.

Few details on the Pantech models were released.


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