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BYOD update, new devices coming soon to Ting and a shipping update

Device Update: September 27, 2012

A couple of members of the Ting team will be heading out to Sprint HQ on Sunday evening, returning late Wednesday. They’ll return with a boatload of information on BYOD, on the device lineup available to us going forward and much more. In other words, we’ll have a BYOD update very soon. The information that we have thus far follows.

BYO(Sprint)D

Bring your own (Sprint) device is coming ever closer. We’ve been working hard on our end to make sure that as soon as Sprint is ready to go, all we’ll need to do is make the appropriate backend connections and BYOD on Ting will be a reality.

We’ll have more detail in a dedicated BYOD blog post but there’s one tidbit we can share now: We’re working on an app that will make the BYOD process incredibly simple and elegant for Android users. Our app will make a Sprint network-capable Android device into a Ting device with a few button presses. We can’t wait to show it off… but we’re going to have to. Beta testers will get first crack at BYOD on Ting and at using the Android app. It’s not too late to sign up for a possible spot in the Ting BYOD beta.

BYO(other)D

We’ve made no secret of how excited we are to be able to offer BYO(Sprint)D. For one, it lets existing Ting customers bring over a previous Sprint device that might otherwise just have sat in a drawer collecting dust. Moreover, it lowers the “barrier for entry” significantly; no more will you have to purchase a device from Ting in order to be a Ting customer.

We’ll also make no secret of the fact that we don’t want BYOD to stop with Sprint and Sprint-capable devices. We’d love to be able to offer BYOD on any device from any carrier. As it stands, there’s the little issue of network frequency limiting which devices could conceivably come to Ting.

While it won’t be as fast moving as our BYO(S)D initiative, we’d love your insight into which devices from other providers you’d like to be able to bring to Ting. Please take a moment to fill out our BYO(O)D form.

Devices coming soon

While “hero” devices like the Samsung Galaxy SIII, the Motorola Photon Q and the HTC EVO 4G LTE tend to get all the attention, they’re only a small part of a device lineup. While it’s nice to have a sweet smartphone in your pocket or purse, not everyone needs or wants to have the latest and greatest.

This week’s device update is mostly focussed on the lower end of the device chain; inexpensive entry-level Android devices and feature phones.

Feature phones

Samsung Array (M390)

We’ll be adding a QWERTY slider feature phone to our lineup in the next couple of weeks. The Samsung Array (M390) is a solid slider, ideal for the heavy texting set. It’s exactly the type of device that we’ve received numerous requests for and it fills a gap in the current Ting lineup.

Our cost on the Array has yet to be determined. As we sell devices at or slightly below our own cost, that means the Ting sale price for the Array has likewise yet to be determined. We’ll update as soon as we have that information. It’ll definitely be south of $150. More detail on the Samsung Array (M390)

Accessible flip phone

Accessible in this case means ideal for those with poor eyesight or hearing. Accessible devices generally offer larger keypads with very clearly marked numbers, larger on-screen fonts and louder speakers / earpieces.

The roadmap suggests we’ll have an accessible flip feature phone available to us in mid to late October. Currently, it’s listed as the Samsung M400 which somehow doesn’t sound right. We expect to have more detail after our marathon meetings with Sprint next week.

Older cell phone users don’t tend to be glued to their phones like we young whippersnappers so after the standard $6/mo. per device, there’s a good chance that their monthly usage will effectively be free if added to an existing plan. We’ve received requests for some kind of accessible flip feature phone so this device or something like it is one we’ve been looking to add for a while now.

Smartphones

Alcatel OneTouch Flex

The OneTouch Flex is an interesting device. It’s a candybar smartphone with full QWERTY keyboard a la BlackBerry. OS wise though, it runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread). “OneTouch” is actually a bit of a misnomer given that you can navigate around the device in a couple of different ways (granted, “CoupleOfDifferentTouch” doesn’t have quite the same ring.) The 2.8-inch screen is of the capacitive touch variety and the full QWERTY keyboard also has four cursor keys which might come in handy if your flesh lacks the capacitance required to use a touch screen… in which case you’re probably not in the land of the living. Sadly, that also means you’re not really in our target demographic.

We expect to add have this device available in mid-October. While the exact price has yet to be determined, we expect it to come in at around the $100 mark.

Shipping

Motorola Photon Q

Motorola Photon Q devices are nearing our warehouse and will leaving as quickly as they arrive; late today and tomorrow. Watch you inbox for a shipping notification.

HTC EVO 4G LTE

Both color variations of the HTC EVO 4G LTE are approaching our warehouse and will begin shipping as early as tomorrow and through early next week.

LG Optimus Elite

Black Optimus Elite devices are also shipping tomorrow and early next week. White Optimus Elites are constrained until November. As such, we’ve removed them from our devices page for the time being.

LG Viper

LG Viper pre-orders will begin shipping late this week and early next. There’s also a planned over the air (OTA) maintenance release which will upgrade the Viper to Ice Cream Sandwich (Android 4.0) and default the network mode to LTE.

The Viper is an LTE-capable device. Currently though, the network mode is defaulted to 3G CDMA before shipment. If you’re in an LTE area you can change the default to LTE in the Network Mode settings menu while you await the OTA release. If you’re not in an LTE area, you can follow the same steps to select CDMA (3G) only after the OTA update such that your device isn’t always looking for the LTE network.

Samsung Galaxy SIII MMS fix

There was an issue with multimedia messaging (MMS, sending pictures, videos and audio clips attached to text messages) on the Galaxy SIII. An OTA update to fix the problem has been released and should be fully rolled out to all SIIIs in the next few weeks.

LG Optimus Elite MMS fix

We’re waiting on word of a fix for an MMS issue on the LG Optimus Elite. We’ve communicated with all Ting Optimus Elite owners. The original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is actively testing a fix for this issue. Unfortunately there is no work-around at this time. We’ll keep you posted.

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