Updated! Overland Park, Kan. - Sprint's next-generation Samsung-made Instinct is the first phone from Sprint and Samsung to capture video and pictures in high definition.
Both companies believe the Instinct HD will be the first such phone available in the U.S.
The touchscreen-only EV-DO Rev. A phone will capture 720p or 1080i video for output directly to a TV via an HDMI adapter cable priced at $29.99. The phone's display, however, doesn't support HD resolution.
Sprint priced the Instinct HD at $249 after $100 mail-in rebate and with a new two-year service agreement for select pricing plans offering unlimited data. Best Buy, however, added in its own $50 instant rebate to drop the price to $199. The original Instinct, in contrast, was launched at $129 in mid-2008.
Pricing and features aren't the only thing that are different. Sprint's launch strategy is also different. The new Instinct became available exclusively in Best Buy Mobile stores on Sept. 25 but won't appear anywhere else until Oct. 11, when Sprint-owned stores, other Sprint direct channels, and other indirect retailers will begin offering it. The original Instinct, in contrast, was launched simultaneously through Sprint's direct and indirect channels. Nonetheless, a Sprint spokeswoman claimed the Instinct HD's distribution strategy will not mark the first time that an indirect retailer has offered a Sprint phone before Sprint's own direct channels.
Besides HD video capture, the Instinct HD boasts other enhancements over its predecessor, including 5-megapixel camera/camcorder resolution compared to 2 megapixels, an accelerometer to automatically reorient the display into landscape or portrait mode, a battery-saving proximity sensor to dim the display when it nears the side of your face, Wi-Fi (802.11b/g/), ambient light sensor, and an upgraded full-HTML browser. At 3.2 inches, the phone's screen is also larger.
The accelerometer also bring "gesture modes" to the Instinct HD, enabling consumers to put the phone into speakerphone mode by placing it face up on a table. Consumers automatically put all incoming calls into voice mail by placing the phone face down on a table.
To qualify for the $249 and $199 pricing, consumers must sign up for select pricing plans offering unlimited data. Those plans include Sprint Everything Data plans with unlimited messaging and data starting at $69.99 for a plan that includes 450 minutes of talk time along and unlimited night and weekend calls. A $99.99 Simply Everything plan includes unlimited messaging, data and voice. The price of the previous Instinct was also tied to unlimited-data plans.
Like before, the multimedia phone features a touchscreen with haptic feedback, virtual QWERTY keyboard, and included MicroSD card. Both models access such Sprint services as GPS navigation, Sprint TV, streaming music and over-the-air music downloading.
Other carryover features include Visual Voicemail, which lets users see who left voicemail messages before listening, stereo Bluetooth 2.0, support for personal and corporate email, text messaging with threaded text, and quick access to such social-networking sites as Facebook, Flickr and Twitter, Sprint said.