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Sprint challenges iPhone with 99 cent over-the-air music downloads

post #1 of 80
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Apple Inc. may find it hard to ignore a new dual-strategy mobile phone initiative from Sprint Nextel that promises over-the-air music downloads to a new Samsung phone for 99 cents a piece.

The nation's third largest wireless carrier said Monday it plans to begin offering customers a new phone from Samsung with a revolutionary form factor that optimizes music capabilities with the look of a phone on one side and an MP3 player on the other.

Dubbed "UpStage," the device will be available from Sprint stores beginning in early April for $149 with a two-year service agreement. It will offer easy access to Sprint's exclusive multimedia content, including Sprint Music Store with quick over-the-air music downloads.

The phone will also feature a 1.3MP camera and camcorder, MicroSD card slot for up to 2GB of external memory, an easy-to-access keyguard switch to prevent accidental dialing, and Wireless Backup to quickly restore contact information if your phone is lost or stolen.

Each UpStage from Samsung will come standard with a 64MB MicroSD memory card and an extended battery wallet that increases talk time up to 6.3 hours or 16 hours of music listening, Sprint said. Dual battery gauges will show remaining battery life in the extended battery wallet and the internal battery.

At the same time that Sprint rolls out UpStage, it will also begin offering customers powerful new pricing options for downloadable music tracks. The Reston, Va.-based firm said in early April the Sprint Music Store will offer songs at $ 0.99, which it claims is the lowest rate available for over-the-air song downloads purchased in the United States.

"This price applies to every song in the Sprint Music Store's library of more than 1.5 million songs," Sprint said in a press release.

The new per-song rate will be available to Sprint customers with any Sprint Power Vision data plan, and Sprint says it plans to offer two new plans with a particular emphasis on music.

A new Power Vision Access Pack will be available for $15 and include 10 commercial-free radio channels from Sprint Radio, exclusive video programming, and 99 cent song downloads. For $5 more per month, a Vision Music Pack will add another 40 channels of commercial-free radio channels and a a channel from Sprint TV that features music videos.

Samsung's UpStage mobile music phone for Sprint Nextel network.

Both data plans will be available to Sprint customers in early April and include unlimited data usage, Sprint said. The plans will also include unlimited use of several other non-music applications such as web browsing, Picture Mail and mobile email.

While Samsung's UpStage handset pales in comparison Apple's iPhone on a functionality basis, Sprint's move to offer over-the-air music downloads to the device for 99 cents may present a significant challenge to the iPod maker.

Apple, whose iPhone is not expected until June, has not said if users will be able to download music tracks direcly to the device over ATT's wireless network.
post #2 of 80
How much is data costs do you have to pay for that $0.99 song?
post #3 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe_the_dragon View Post

How much is data costs do you have to pay for that $0.99 song?

they have $15 and $20 dolloar a month data-plans that, among some other things, allow free bandwidth for the $0.99 downloads.

As much as people complain about being "locked" into a music player by the drm on some music you may purche, how much more does it suck to be "locked" in to your phone provider by purchasing music?

Several important questions:
Can i put non-drm'd mp3's on it?
What sucky software do I need to install/use to manage the music on it (or do i have to manage it on the phone itself)? Is said software available for Mac.
Comes with a 64MB card and maxes out at 2GB? can i swap between spare cards on the fly to (cumbersomely) have more music available to me? (and how does one manage what is on what card, see the second question)

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess this product will largely bomb.
post #4 of 80
They still do not get it, they think Apple is competing on price, sooner or later they will figure out it is all about the end user experience.

Ok so you can download over the air, but how do you manage your music and all your content, can you easily move things between your phone and computer or your stereo system or play the music over your car stereo and do it all work without you having to think about.

It looks like another failed product... and Sprint think that if people have their music on the phone they would be less likely to change service providers.
post #5 of 80
Unfortunately the phone looks like ass.

-Clive
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post #6 of 80
The iPhone as-is is not suitable for downloading media. UTMS isn't even suitable, much less GPRS. However, I'm not convinced that people have been running to download songs on their phones, nor do I believe that at 0.99 this will change much of anything.
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post #7 of 80
Link?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clive At Five View Post

Unfortunately the phone looks like ass.

-Clive

I think they are headed in the right direction. So all Apple need to do is offer iTunes to phone purchase to counter them.
post #8 of 80
1 - I'm not sure how this is a counter to the iPhone. They are completely different.

2 - I'm guessing (but probably right in assuming) that Apple will eventually (even if it takes a while) add the capability of downloading songs from the iPhone and having the tracks sync back to your iTunes library.

3 - Notice how they used silhouette dancers as the backdrop.
post #9 of 80
Hooray for Sprint My dream has come true!

I want to browse a music store on a tiny screen with no pointing device for navigation.

I want to search for music with a little numpad instead of a keyboard. And I want that numpad NOT to be on the same side of the phone as the main screen.

I want to preview and download songs at slow speeds while draining my battery and dealing with reception issues.

I want just 64 MB to store the songs in--which means I also want low quality encoding.

I want to have to WORK to integrate the music back into my main library once I get home--if that's even possible.

I want to shop for music while standing in line or waiting for the red light to change, listening to the wind and traffic and crowds--not from the comfort of my own home with my stereo speakers.

Most of all, I do NOT want iPod ease-of-use or multitouch control and flexibility. I want a ton of little buttons.

Apple could learn a lot from this: it's JUST what consumers have been clamoring for

They're right, Apple CANNOT ignore this threat! Can they make the iPhone catch up to this marvel?
post #10 of 80
Hey, maybe they could put police scanner and walkie-talkie functionality into it while they're at it!

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post #11 of 80
Yes, what better product to counter the iPhone than a common Samsung plebe phone, backed with a lame mobile music service.

Where do I sign up?
post #12 of 80
Ok after seeing that phone, it's pretty sweet. A display on both sides it unique. I have no plans of buying one, but I would go to a Sprint store to look at it.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/25/s...ge-for-sprint/
post #13 of 80
theres no competition there, so what there 99 cents i dont think whats a reason to get sprint, not to mention they have the worst network out there from personal expirience and also shown by JD power, now the iphone got me thinking although cingular its not to good ether but i might get it for Wi Hi web browsing and for the ipod feature, if only verizon would have gotten it, they already have tv service for phones
post #14 of 80
nagromme, i completely agree.
and it's called the UpStage.
el-oh-els.

did they even look at this when they designed it? (the keys are on the BACK??)
hmmm... something smells fishy.
post #15 of 80
That phone is retarded. You have to keep locking the buttons every time you flip it over. Samsung, the same company who brought great industrial design to the Zune strikes out again.
post #16 of 80
Nice price point too, if it's true
http://www.phonenews.com/content/view/1949/1/
wtf is a battery wallet?
post #17 of 80
Verizon has had similar offerings in the form of V Cast Music. As far as I can tell, it's awful.
post #18 of 80
[humor below, beware]

Steve Jobs said the problem with phones is that their interfaces don't conform to each specific application / task needed by the user. Hence, the birth of iPhone. Now, Sprint/Nextel's solution is to have a 2-sided phone. One side for music, the other for conversations. Just imagine, let's add more functionality and have 3, 4, 5, and on sided phones. Then they'll have to resort to a rubics cube format to accommodate for all it's functionality.
post #19 of 80
This is an interesting attempt to counter the iPhone, but there's simply too many buttons and if simplicity is going to be the driver to deliver more customers then this phone falls WAY short. Interesting concept.. I would never buy one.
post #20 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackSummerNight View Post

Ok after seeing that phone, it's pretty sweet. A display on both sides it unique. I have no plans of buying one, but I would go to a Sprint store to look at it.
http://www.engadget.com/2007/03/25/s...ge-for-sprint/

Maybe the next generation will add a small, lengthwise display on the sides for viewing RSS feeds.

The possibilities are limitless. Or, 6-sided limits.

Jim
post #21 of 80
I would love to have a phone with RSS feed scroll around the outer side.
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyjp View Post

Maybe the next generation will add a small, lengthwise display on the sides for viewing RSS feeds.

The possibilities are limitless. Or, 6-sided limits.

Jim
post #22 of 80
Looking at that fugly fone, I'd say Samsung is about to be UpStaged in a big way!
post #23 of 80
uggg

There is nothing new here. All the major UK Mobile networks have been having multimedia (Audio/Music/Pictures/Games/Video) downloads here for some months, if not years by now. Whether it be on GPRS or 3G. Even on GPRS a song will download in around real time. I have done video streaming on 3G and it will just about work if you are in the right place, with the phone getting rather hot.
post #24 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

Hooray for Sprint My dream has come true!

I want to browse a music store on a tiny screen with no pointing device for navigation.

I want to search for music with a little numpad instead of a keyboard. And I want that numpad NOT to be on the same side of the phone as the main screen.

I want to preview and download songs at slow speeds while draining my battery and dealing with reception issues.

I want just 64 MB to store the songs in--which means I also want low quality encoding.

I want to have to WORK to integrate the music back into my main library once I get home--if that's even possible.

I want to shop for music while standing in line or waiting for the red light to change, listening to the wind and traffic and crowds--not from the comfort of my own home with my stereo speakers.

Most of all, I do NOT want iPod ease-of-use or multitouch control and flexibility. I want a ton of little buttons.

Apple could learn a lot from this: it's JUST what consumers have been clamoring for

They're right, Apple CANNOT ignore this threat! Can they make the iPhone catch up to this marvel?

I agree! Sprint hit it on the nose... After all, I don't want my $1,000 headphones to sound different then my FM radio on the go.
post #25 of 80
I'm not sure if UpStage is REALLY priced lower than iPhone, once you take the contracts into account, but lets give UpStage the benefit of the doubt and say that, as miserable as it may seem, at least it's cheap--and Apple offers no cheap phone option yet.

Now imagine a late-2007 $249-or-so low-end iPhone flavor (with cheaper monthly plans than UpStage has because the iPhone cost is not subsidized). By then the nano will be cheaper and the regular iPhone will have larger capacities. I don't see buying music being a big deal on ANY phone (though a really good touchscreen could to it fine) but what I DO see on a low-end iPhone:

* A somewhate smaller touchscreen than iPhone and a super-slim "iPhone nano" form factor to go with it

* 2-4 GB storage

* Full iPhone music/podcast/photo features, but no video

* No Internet, no widgets, probably no notepad; limited calendar and calculator MAYBE if the small touchscreen allows

* Full voice features of iPhone

* Even SIMPLER to use than iPhone because it does less

* In short, a video-less superslim iPhone that is still a great iPod and phone

If that happens, which seems like only a matter of time (though Internet might not be left out), it will be interesting to see non-multitouch companies try to UpStage that!

I don't see Apple ever trying to compete in the disposable "just a phone, no storage, no fancy UI" department though. Apple's low-end will be mid-range in features (and price), not unlike the Mac situation.
post #26 of 80
Though Sprint/Samsung's attempt was poorly thought out and executed, it does officially usher in a new era in the US cellphone market. The shift has started! We will be seeing many new provider and manufactuer changes; and, more importantly, we'll be seeing more provider/manufacture joint efforts.

Even the vast masses who do not use CIngular or do not plan on getting an iPhone should be rejoicing that the iPhone will undoubtedly improve their cellphone experience.
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post #27 of 80
I don't get what's wrong with these people, seriously. I have sprint with a Samsung A900 phone and I really have no complaints about it as a phone. Quality, reception and customer service are all good. But I sure as heck don't try to use it as an MP3 player because it sucks.

i just don't get why all these companies are so clueless. Why does common sense and usability seem to fly out the window? Do these people even use the products they make?

64MB's!!! what a joke. It's really a slap in the face. I was at Microcenter the other day and they sell 2gig SD cards for $15 everyday as a normal price. So I'm sure a big company like samsung and sprint can get and even better deal to include that with a $150 phone. And 2gig shouldn't be the limit it should be the start of what the unit can accept.

Whatever they're doing right now to figure out new product is the wrong way to do it.
post #28 of 80
The wallpaper on the phone is a pretty tacky rip-off of Apple's iPod ads too...
post #29 of 80
I would personally like to welcome this joyful cheer for the Music Phone era. It's so nice that Sprint Nextel and Samsung can work together to manufacture the sound of no one caring, and I think it will revolutionize the entire Cell Phone industry!

Sebastian
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post #30 of 80
Come to think of it, I think I'm going to buy this phone. It's decent looking and isn't a flip phone, the latter of which makes it unique in the catalog of phones offered by Sprint. I don't really expect to be using the music feature (at all) unless I can load songs onto it from the computer, but Sprint's network has such vastly superior voice quality than Cingular's that it makes getting an iPhone out of the question for me.
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post #31 of 80
Anyone else think Apple let the cat out of bag too soon?

June seems like an eternity away and everyone's coming out of the woodworks with their iPhone killer.
Not saying they're better (hands on tests will determine that), but with Apple showing their cards so soon, it makes for an easier target.
post #32 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by the cool gut View Post

Samsung, the same company who brought great industrial design to the Zune strikes out again.

That would be Toshiba, not Samsung.

I do have to say that it's almost comical that just now, Sprint is reducing its song price. The convenience of buying on the go just isn't worth what they wanted, not to mention the reputed hassle to get the same song to work on a computer, I think they offered a dual download, very compressed for phone and later you can download the less compressed for the computer for no extra cost.
post #33 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Anyone else think Apple let the cat out of bag too soon?

June seems like an eternity away and everyone's coming out of the woodworks with their iPhone killer.
Not saying they're better (hands on tests will determine that), but with Apple showing their cards so soon, it makes for an easier target.

The only ones that may be anywhere close are a model each from Meizu and LG. I think most of the phone market is price-conscious, so there are openings.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

I want to search for music with a little numpad instead of a keyboard. And I want that numpad NOT to be on the same side of the phone as the main screen.

The num pad side does seem to have a fairly decent display. It's probably not necessary to have a numpad for music searching any more than it is necessary to have a numpad on an iPod.
post #34 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by satchmo View Post

Anyone else think Apple let the cat out of bag too soon?

June seems like an eternity away and everyone's coming out of the woodworks with their iPhone killer.
Not saying they're better (hands on tests will determine that), but with Apple showing their cards so soon, it makes for an easier target.

If this Samsung is any indication, then either a) The iPhone isn't an easy target or b) They're just shooting wildly with no real ideas.

Sebastian
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post #35 of 80
I'm sorry but that crippled phone 2-way taped on to the back of that mp3 player just isn't doing it for me. It looks like hell and now there's 2x as many damageable surfaces on that thing.
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post #36 of 80
:-D I actually like the phone! It's slim, it's beautiful and unique. However, it does look like it will be annoying if you use the internet, because every time you type something in you have to slip to the other side, and then go to the big screen. But, I don't use the internet...so it wouldn't bother me.

So yea. I am getting this since I have Sprint.
post #37 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

The num pad side does seem to have a fairly decent display. It's probably not necessary to have a numpad for music searching any more than it is necessary to have a numpad on an iPod.

An iPod would be very poor for music shopping--though at least the clickwheel can scroll your own library effectively. An iPod doesn't need a keyboard (or keyboard substitute), but music shopping does.

For searching a music STORE, you need to enter song names, artist names, etc., including trying different searches if your first search fails. Looking though a whole catalog by scroll-and-click category browsing until you find the one song you want would be utterly impractical, even if Sprint's selection turns out to be very limited.

And in this case, you're doing that text entry with a numpad? And the numpad is on the side with the SMALL screen? It may be a "decent" small screen, but small does not cut it for viewing and scrolling search results or even categories. Small does not cut it for music shopping.

So, with the big screen and the keyboard--er, numpad--on opposite sides from each other, which one do you give up for shopping? Or do you flip the phone back and forth constantly? There is no good answer.

And I hope that "Flip" button on the side of the phone doesn't do what I think it does. I hope the thing can at least sense which side is up. Dual-screen flip phones know whether they are open or shut, and the iPhone knows whether it's held sideways or straight. It's hard to imagine that Samsung would come up with this unusual two-face design and neglect to have it know which side you were using.

Also, the thing better be REALLY small to justify the poor battery life: it gets 6.5 talk time or 16 music time--similar to the iPhone--but that's only WITH an external battery pack! It's nice to have the external battery built into a protective wallet... but that's a lot more total bulk and weight then. I wonder what battery life the phone gets by itself?
post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

An iPod would be very poor for music shopping--though at least the clickwheel can scroll your own library effectively. An iPod doesn't need a keyboard (or keyboard substitute), but music shopping does.

For searching a music STORE, you need to enter song names, artist names, etc., including trying different searches if your first search fails. Looking though a whole catalog by scroll-and-click category browsing until you find the one song you want would be utterly impractical, even if Sprint's selection turns out to be very limited.

Clickwheel isn't only for scrolling through lists, searches can be done by entering text using the clickwheel. It's a little cumbersome, but that's the nature of small devices, regardless of how many buttons it has. I personally can't stand trying to enter text a 12 button phone, I don't get how that's popular.
post #39 of 80
Right. I don't see ANY small device being good for shopping. The iPhone might be better than most, with tiny-alpha-keyboards (like a Treo) being a runner-up... but basically shopping benefits a LOT from a full computer interface. Some things are worth sacrifices for the sake of mobility--but is music shopping something people demand on the go, enough to make those usability sacrifices? I don't see it catching on--even with a better interface then Samsung's numpad. If Apple offer direct-to-phone shopping (which they may) I'll say the same. The option is fine, but it won't be used much.
post #40 of 80
Sry, double post.
Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
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Cut-copy-paste, MMS, landscape keyboard, video-recording, voice-calling, and more... FINALLY
To the 'We Didn't Need It' Crowd/Apple Apologista Squad : Wrong again, lol
Thanks for listening to your...
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