Sprint Sketches Out Product Roadmap

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Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint plans to unveil additional cellphones for holiday sales, but consumer marketing VP David Owens declined to specify whether they would include Android-based smartphones other than the previously announced HTC Hero and Samsung Moment.

The carrier has "a couple others [phones] up our sleeve" for holiday sales, he said in an on-line chat with consumers.

In pointing to other future products, Owens said Sprint will have more BlackBerry options with Wi-Fi "soon," new iDEN-network phones "coming soon," and a 2010 selection that will include a "robust" selection of HTC-made Android phones, a "strong BlackBerry roadmap, and a "broad array" of Android phones. The company will also "continue to build on the BREW platform" for feature phones.

Currently, in Wi-Fi-equipped BlackBerries, Sprint offers the Curve 8350i, a spokesman said.

Early in 2010, Owens continued, Sprint plans "touchscreen products that are non-PDA" to join the Sprint Instinct HD. Not all of the new models, however, will require a data plan, as the Instinct does. "We still believe customers will want to explore data services, but there will be options," he said.

Sprint, he noted, requires data plans or data-included Simply Everything plans for five "data-intensive" phones. They are the Instinct, WebOS-based smartphones from Palm, and Android smartphones. Sprint requires data plans on these models so subscribers don't get hit with unexpected data charges exceeding their expectations, he explained. "We saw some of our highest customer satisfaction on the Instinct product because of this requirement," he noted.

In other comments, Owens said:

·            print will offer Mobile WiMAX-equipped handsets in 2010 for the first time.

·            he Android-based Hero "has sold incredibly well without advertising," but Sprint and Hero maker HTC nonetheless plan "significant advertising very soon."

·            nd an international Android is "certainly a possibility" but isn't planned for this year.

He wouldn't comment on whether the carrier will offer a touchscreen-equipped BlackBerry in 2010.


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