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Sprint Goes With Its Instinct

At this week’s CTIA wireless conference in Las Vegas, Sprint announced it plans to roll out the Samsung Instinct this June, a new touch-screen phone with a 3-inch display, multimedia capabilities, high-speed mobile Internet, and a virtual QWERTY keypad. The Instinct will tap into the Internet using Sprint’s EV-DO high-speed mobile data network, and offer GPS navigation services in addition to tapping into Sprint’s existing mobile media offerings, including the Sprint Music Store and Sprint TV. And although Sprint and Samsung claim the Instinct has been in development for years, there’s no mistaking the device looks—and acts—a lot like the Apple iPhone.

“Instinct brings customers what they want with the immediacy they want. Every decision during the development process focused on simplifying the user experience,” said Sprint’s chief marketing officer and senior VP of product development John Garcia, in a statement. “The end result is a great-looking phone that makes the value of Sprint’s fast NOW Network come to life, but most importantly, it is fun and easy to use.”

The Sprint Instinct will offer a 3-inch touchscreen interface with a virtual QWERTY keypad for users to enter text and messages. The phone will also sport localized tactile feedback—haptics—to offer users feedback on their touch screen actions. The Instinct will sport a 2 megapixel camera, a microSD slot for media storage, and Bluetooth wireless networking. Like the iPhone, the Samsung Instinct will sport visual voicemail, enabling users to listen to selected messages and manage them from their phone’s screen. Unlike the iPhone, the Instinct includes a GPS receiver (enabling Sprint’s navigation services), but the Instinct will not offer Wi-Fi wireless networking, so users won’t be able to tap into available Wi-Fi hotspots to boost their Internet surfing capabilities. However, Sprint’s EV-DO network outpaces the EDGE network AT&T users access via the iPhone: with EV-DO Rev A, download bandwidth can peak at 3.1 Mbps, and uploads can reach 1.8 Mbps.

Sprint hasn’t announced pricing for the Instinct, but says the phone will require activation on an unlimited data Sprint Everything plan, which starts at $69.99/month. The Instinct should be available to North American users this June, and Sprint plans to pull no punches promoting the device.