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Device update: On filling pre-orders and fulfilling promises

Device Update – Aug 16, 2012

We’re pretty pleased with the way our device lineup is coming together. The Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-order we announced in the last Device Update was a real win for us and, more importantly, for those of you looking for a truly top-end phone for use on Ting.

Coming to Ting

Top-end smartphones

Sometimes called “superphones,” these are the true top-tier smartphones; dual-core processors, a gig or two of RAM, huge, super high-resolution screens and the like are the earmarks.

HTC EVO 4G LTE

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is making its way to Ting. We’ll be offering pre-orders in mid-September with shipments happening in mid-October. We expect to offer the HTC EVO 4G for around $520.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE is a pretty killer device with a 4.7-inch screen 1280×720. It runs Android Ice Cream Sandwich (4.0) with the new, pared down HTC Sense atop. It sports a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal memory, expandable via microSD card. As the product name suggests, the HTC EVO 4G LTE is also an LTE-ready handset.

Motorola Photon Q

We’ve had some requests for a high-end QWERTY slider to replace the HTC Detail. Only too happy to oblige, we’ll be able to offer the Motorola Photon Q for pre-order next week; we’re expecting to have it available to us as pre-order on August 20, with shipments beginning three weeks hence. This timeframe is optimistic but likely.

The Photon Q is an LTE phone, it has the requisite slide-out QWERTY keyboard and packs a 1.5GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0 (4.0.4 out of the box, to be exact).

We expect to offer the Photon Q for around $500 but exact pricing is as yet TBD.
[UPDATE: August 21, 2012: Pre-order pricing for the Motorola Q is $520.]

LG Viper

A little lower down the spec chain but not by much, we expect to have the LG Viper on offer in October for a little less than $400. Another LTE smartphone, the LG Viper has a 1.2GHz dual-core processor and 1GB of RAM. It runs Gingerbread, Android 2.3 out of the box. Thankfully though, an update to Ice Cream Sandwich is imminent, as confirmed by both Sprint and LG, though we have no specific ETA to share right this second. For more information on how the Ting Android update process works, please check out this article on the blog.

Think of the LG Viper as the LG Optimus Elite on steroids… but with LTE and a faster processor instead of acne and ‘roid rage.

Samsung Galaxy SIII

The Samsung Galaxy SIII is the top of the top-end. Pre-orders have been rolling in fast and furious.

There are a lot of moving parts that have to be taken in to account in fulfilling the SIII pre-orders. We’re on it literally every day, pushing to get these phones out the door as soon as possible.

We expect to begin shipping pre-orders of the Galaxy SIIIs across the four variants (Pebble Blue, Marble White, 16GB, 32GB) by early September and we’re pushing hard to move the shipping window up. As soon as we have a clear timeframe, we’ll certainly share it. Watch this space!

Smartphones

This is the most popular device category on Ting by volume. These smartphones come in at between about $200 and $300, generally feature single-core processors and smaller cameras. They’re not the absolute bleeding edge but they’re capable devices that won’t break the bank.

Kyocera Rise

This inexpensive slider will be offered for about $200 and will be hitting the Ting devices page soon. Sprint launches the Rise on August 19 and we’ll be able to offer it a couple of weeks later, in early September.

The Rise has a 1GHz processor, 512MB of RAM and a 3.5-inch screen. What’s interesting though is that we’re now starting to see Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.0, move from exclusively the domain of the “superphones” and in to the more attainable smartphone space. The Rise is the first smartphone we’ll be able to offer at or around the $200 mark that runs ICS out of the box.

Feature phones

Feature phones aren’t met with the same fanfare as smartphones, which is understandable. These staid handsets don’t do much with data, have smaller screens and less advanced software running the show. That said, they’re a necessary part of any device line-up for the people that don’t need or want a smartphone.

Codename: Hyperopia

Within a couple of months we’ll be adding a new feature phone to the Ting lineup. We’re codenaming this feature phone Hyperopia because we can’t see quite far enough out to get the actual product name. The codename is also ironic as it will feature large keys and options for large on-screen text, perfect for shortsighted people. Really though, it’s perfect for anyone looking for a simple, solid phone without much in the way of bells and whistles. Hyperopia will hit in the near future and by the next device update, we hope to have a device name and price point to share. Until we confirm the name of this impending Ting feature phone, please feel free to speculate wildly in the comments below.

Going from Ting

The device sale on the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot and the Sierra 250u continues, and we’re also adding the black Samsung Galaxy SII into the mix at $50 off ($435 down from $485). As with the white SIIs, once we clear through the remaining stock of black Galaxy SIIs, these devices are gone for good which leaves little room for hemming and / or hawing. If you want one, you’d better get moving!

Nothing to report on the iPhone front as yet. We continue to work every available angle. We expect to make small steps forward (and possibly a couple back-steps along the way) before we finally break into that walled garden. We’re happy with the progress we’ve made thus far, even though it’s baby steps. We’ll definitely keep you posted as news warrants.

In other news

We continue to work with Sprint on LTE. The back-end work has been accomplished on our side so as soon as the virtual switch flips, we’ll be able to offer LTE to Ting customers (at no extra charge, it must be pointed out). We’re still looking at an early September timeframe… and again, our tenacious team is all over it.

A lot of the feedback we’ve received from Ting users, both current and would-be, is that we need to offer a wider variety of devices and that ideally, we should support bring your own device (BYOD). We’ve been working hard on both fronts and our efforts are starting to pay off. We hope to have news to share on the BYOD front soon. We only mention it now so you don’t think we’ve fallen asleep at the switch. Let us assure you: We as a team drink far too much coffee for that to even be a possibility.

Broken Galaxy Nexus dreams

In other, less fortuitous news, it doesn’t look likely that our efforts to get the Galaxy Nexus will come to fruition. That’s a whole post in and of itself but suffice it to say that Google needs to make its pure Google phones MVNO friendly. We’re adopting the thought that it’s their loss… but isn’t that what all spurned lovers say? Our sincere apologies to the unmodified Android devotees. We’ll let you know if that changes but as it stands, we have to say: Ting will not offer the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

We’re hoping we can turn the tides for the next pure Google phone. Again, watch this space. We’re thinking a letter-writing campaign to Google HQ. Seriously. Who’s in?

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