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Device update: Milano sale, pre-orders shipping and the LG Viper coming soon

Yesterday we announced the winner of the first to LTE Samsung Galaxy SIII full device price refund. We’ve still got two more SIII purchases to refund from among the first 200 pre-orders. If you’re a winner, we’ll let you know shortly after you activate your device and you’ll receive a full device purchase price refund. There’s more news to report than just this, however.

Device sale: Kyocera Milano at $105

We’re having a sale on the Kyocera Milano. If you’re looking for an infinitely pocketable smartphone with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than the Milano. Especially at $105, a full $40 off the original ask.

When the Milanos we have in stock are gone, they’re gone for good so if you’ve been debating pulling the trigger, there’s no time like the present.

Shipping update

Samsung Galaxy SIII in both capacity options (16 GB and 32 GB) and in both color variations (white and blue) are leaving the warehouse as quickly as they arrive. Pre-order shipments are sent out on a first come, first served basis. We have enough Galaxy SIIIs in stock and in-bound to cover the initial pre-orders across colors and capacities. For anyone late to the party (that is, ordering in the past couple of weeks) the ships-in estimate that was displayed when you placed your order holds true. We’ve also updated the “ships in” times for new Samsung Galaxy SIII orders with the latest info we have available.

We’ll see the Motorola Photon Q pre-orders and the HTC EVO 4G LTE in both black and white in the warehouse by late next week and will have them flying out the doors as soon as is humanly possible.

We’ll also be shipping LG Optimus S refurbs starting Monday. The Samsung M370 flip feature phone orders will start rolling out the the doors in 10 days if not sooner.

Samsung Galaxy SIII warehouse pic
White Samsung Galaxy SIIIs lined up to leave the warehouse.

Coming (very) soon

LG Viper

We predict good things for the LG Viper, the entry-level for LTE devices. The Viper just hit the Ting devices page and will ship starting week. We decided not to put the Viper up for pre-order before now because… Well… because we’ve been busy, OK?

The Viper has been described as the LG Optimus Elite on steroids with its LTE access, 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 4-inch WVGA screen.

At $371 it’s latest and least expensive LTE phone to hit the Ting lineup.

Get it while it’s hot

LG Optimus S refurb

The refurbished LG Optimus S devices are being snapped up more quickly than even we thought they would be… and we’re born optimists. $63 for an entry-level smartphone is a pretty killer deal after all. We’ve also updated the ship time on the Optimus S refurbs to shipping in five to seven days.

We’re looking to get more refurbished LG Optimus S devices in so we can offer them up for order. We’ll also be on the lookout for other refurbished options. With refurbs, as compared with brand new devices, there’s the little issue of supply, which is relatively low, and demand, which is clearly pretty high.

Samsung M370 flip phone

The complete absence of a flip phone in our lineup due to a parts supply issue in Asia came as a surprise to us too, as detailed in our last device update. We’ve got a large shipment that will soon make its way to our warehouse and we’ll be fulfilling M370 as quickly as possible. We’ve also updated the shipping time on new M370 orders to reflect the updated shipping information.

Airave

We gave all the details we have on the Airave coming to Ting in a dedicated Ting Airave blog post. Nothing new to report on this front. We’re still on track to offer the Airave on the site next week at the introductory sale price of $190, shipping immediately.

Airave in-bound to Ting

If you’ve found the fringes of the mobile network and you need a bit of a coverage boost at home or in the office, this one’s for you. We just got final confirmation that we’ll be able to add the Airave to our list of Ting devices. Expect the Airave to hit the Ting devices page next week at an introductory sale price of $190.

For those unfamiliar with the Airave, it plugs in to your high-speed modem or router and routes calls and text messages using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). In short, you’ll get more signal bars in more places around the house and in turn, you’ll have one less thing to worry about.

Airave pricing

While we’re actively pursuing making secondhand Airave devices work on the Ting network, unfortunately you’ll have to purchase an Airave from us in order to use it with Ting phone for the time being.

The typical $6/mo. per device fee will NOT apply to an Airave on your Ting account.

Minutes and messages used count toward your chosen plan level. Megabytes of data would also come out of your chosen plan bucket … but you’d have to be crazy to use your mobile data connection when you’re so close to your (presumably) wireless router.

Airave setup

As with a Wi-Fi router, you may need to play with placement in order to get the strongest possible signal all over your home or office.

Airaves purchased through Ting will ship “hot,” which means they’re ready to plug in and begin broadcasting your new stronger mobile signal soon after unboxing.

If you’re anything like us, your first thought upon hearing about the Airave might have been to grab one and take it on the road to enjoy local calling and texting rates (avoiding roaming) wherever you have an active Internet connection. Afraid it’s no dice on that front: The Airave has protections in it to avoid just this scenario. It must be physically located in the USA and have a view of at least one tower in order to come online. Even a very weak tower signal will work. In addition to ensuring that the Airave is being used as intended, this geolocation process also facilitates 911 emergency location services.

Stay tuned to the Ting devices page, follow us on Twitter and / or hook up with Ting on Facebook to get the latest.

Device update: SIII shipping details, clamshells, sliders, refurbs and more

Ting Device update: September 7, 2012

Do I still need to come up with pithy leads? Hope not. Here’s a Ting device update for this week. The big news follows. We also have some shipping details for pre-orders, new additions to our lineup, a little news on the QWERTY slider feature phone we’ve received requests for, the promise of more info to come on the Airave and a similar promise in the form of a brief BYOD update.

Samsung M370 – it’s back!

We’ve managed to get a bunch of Samsung M370s into our warehouse stock. These devices were in very short supply for everyone (including Sprint retail) due to a parts problem in Asia. We’ve grabbed plenty to meet the current and projected demand for this inexpensive clamshell feature phone. It’s back on the site and available to order now, shipping in one to two weeks.

Refurbished LG Optimus S

Just the other day we asked the Ting Facebook community whether or not we should consider adding refurbished devices to our lineup. The answer was a resounding yes with 116 votes for and only four against.

So, today, we’ve added refurbished LG Optimus S devices in purple to our lineup at $63. These aren’t brand new devices but they won’t have any noticeable flaws; it’s almost like buying a very lightly used device second-hand but with none of the bum ESN or co-opted MEID worries. Each device will come with a 30-day warranty and will be ready to activate on Ting right away.

These refurbished Optimus S’s will begin shipping in two to three weeks.

Smartphones – Shipping details

Late next week is going to be a very busy time for our warehouse. Many of the devices we ordered and offered up for pre-order will be arriving and subsequently heading straight back out the door, destined for American doorsteps.

Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-order shipments

We know how frustrating it is to wait for a shiny new device to arrive. Much of our order is currently on trucks and in transit to our warehouse. We have been and will continue to do absolutely everything in our power to get these Galaxy SIIIs so we can fulfil pre-orders as quickly as possible. That includes calling everyone connected to the process (incessantly, some might argue,) and making a lot of noise. Heck, we’ll even grease palms or buy the truckers coffee after coffee to get our shipments ASAP so we can pass them along to you.

We’ve had some success, shipping out a first small batch of 32 GB Pebble Blue Galaxy SIIIs. The bulk of the 32 GB SIII pre-orders will ship late next week. Thanks to everyone for your patience. We’ve fielded a lot of questions about SIII pre-order shipments but they’ve been of the excited as opposed to angry sort. Here are some specifics:

Samsung Galaxy SIII 32 GB

Our larger order of 32 GB Samsung Galaxy SIIIs (Marble White and Pebble Blue both) are on their way to our warehouses now. That means they’ll be on their way out to pre-orderers shortly thereafter. Barring anything outside of our own control we’re looking at late next week to start shipping them out of our warehouse.

Samsung Galaxy SIII 16 GB

16 GB Samsung Galaxy SIIIs (Marble White and Pebble Blue) will be arriving in our warehouses a day or two later. We expect to have them in hand very late next week or very early the following week; basically, expect your 16 GB Samsung Galaxy SIII to leave our warehouse by Monday. This again barring any circumstances outside of our control.

Motorola Photon Q

This device is also arriving late next week and shipping out to pre-orderers. If you pre-ordered the Motorola Photon Q with its killer specs and slide-out QWERTY keyboard, you’ll be receiving it soon.

New additions

HTC EVO 4G LTE White

The most asked question when we added the HTC EVO 4G LTE in black was “will you be getting the HTC EVO 4G LTE in white?” Indeed we will. Pre-orders just opened up today. Sign up for Ting device alerts if you want to be the first to know in the future. To do so just go to the contact info pane on your Ting account page and check the appropriate box to sign up. If you don’t already have a Ting account you can sign up for an account and opt-in to device alerts and / or Ting news without having to sign up for Ting service.

As you’d expect, the only difference between the black HTC EVO 4G LTE and the white version thereof is the color. We’ll be offering the white HTC EVO 4G LTE for the same $519 ask and shipping them out in one to two weeks, along with their black brethren.

LG Viper (LTE)

The LG Viper LTE will hit the Ting devices page next week and will be available for order. Think of this as an LTE version of the Optimus Elite with a spec boost and, of course, the super fast LTE network where available. The Viper will come in at under $400 and, along with some of the other new additions both in progress and planned, will flesh out the Ting smartphone lineup to offer more device choice across multiple price points.

Feature phone

We already mentioned that we were able to add the M370 to our list of phones that are available for order. We have some news on the QWERTY slider feature phone we’ve received numerous requests for and we’re working to get in into our lineup… but it’s going to be a little while yet.

Samsung M390

The M390 will come in at under $150 and fills a gap in our current lineup. Unfortunately though, that gap will remain unfilled, likely until mid October. We’ll continue to do everything we can to push that window closer to the present day but we don’t see much in the way of wiggle room on that date at present.

Accessories

Perhaps that should read “accessory.” There’s only one entry in this category, but it’s a big one. We mentioned that we’ll be adding the Airave to our device lineup very soon. We’ve been reading all your questions about this device and we’ll have a blog post up as soon as possible dedicated just to the Airave. There, we’ll lay out pricing, how the Airave will work on your Ting account and more.

BYOD update

Response to our request for information on who’s interested in BYOD on Ting and who’s interested in being a part of the beta program has been nothing short of momentous. Thanks!

We’re currently working to create the beta program framework and we’ll have as many people as we possibly can on board in the pre-release period. Beta testers will be asked to provide us with feedback on the program as a whole so we can make the appropriate tweaks before we roll it out to the masses.

We hope to have more solid details to share in the next two or three weeks and as ever, we’ll keep you posted as we make progress.

You can, of course, still share your BYOD insights and sign up for the beta program.

Help make Google’s Nexus MVNO friendly

The reasons for the Nexus series of devices being non-MVNO friendly are many and we’ll explore them here on the Ting blog soon. More pressing though is an entirely end user-driven petition campaign asking Google to make the next non-GSM versions of the Nexus devices MVNO friendly.

We have a lot of love for unmodified Android as it comes on the Nexus devices. It’s the most open, the most pure and Nexus users are always the first to get OTA updates meaning it’s also the line that is running the absolute latest version of Android. In short, it’s not your typical locked-down smartphone. It’s ironic, then, that MVNOs like Ting who are challenging business as usual mobile are out of the running to carry the Nexus device, itself a challenger.

We’ve been considering a letter writing campaign or a petition in order to show popular support for making the Nexus MVNO friendly. One particularly would-be Ting Nexus user, Ken Kinder, decided to beat us to the punch. He started TingMyNexus.com, hosting the petition that was on our to-do list. He started circulating it to get digital signatures: 74 at last count. We asked Ken what motivated him to start this effort:

Ting: Why do you think the Nexus line of devices should have a
home on Ting (and by extension, other MVNOs?)

Ken Kinder: Well of course the Galaxy Nexus is the most hacker-friendly phone on the market. Google doesn’t offer tech support for tinkering with the firmware, but they also don’t try to stop you. Ting has the same attitude: they’re happy to have hobbyists finding creative ways to use their devices.

A more subtle connection is that Ting, like the Galaxy Nexus, is a clean and distraction-free experience. Booting up a phone with a lot of pre-installed doodads, demo apps, and unwanted games is like walking down the Vegas strip: everywhere you look, stuff is competing for your attention. Websites for many carriers, and especially discount MVNOs, are the same way with flashing banners, constant up-sells, and gaudy advertisements. Ting and the Galaxy Nexus are both pleasant experiences, free of post-sale up-sells.

T: What prompted you to create the TingMyNexus.com site?

K: I had contemplated creating it before Ting’s BYOD announcement but after we learned that the Nexus would be excluded from BYOD, I was just really surprised. Google sells an unlocked, carrier-neutral version of their GSM phone, so their decision to keep the LTE Nexus exclusive to only a few carriers is puzzling. I feel that if Ting users voice their demand, Google might reexamine its distribution agreements and bring the next Nexus phone to Ting, or at least let the Sprint version be ported.

T: What is it about the Nexus devices that you find so compelling?

K: It’s the canonical Android phone, so Android updates come quickly. Every other phone has some modified version of what’s on the Nexus, but the Nexus has the original Android operating system, as it was intended by the people who made it. Just as important, although more OEMs are coming around on this, the Nexus phones have always let you install whatever operating system you want on your phone. I feel like if I own a computer, I should be able to use whatever software I want on it, and the Nexus is ideal for that.

T: What are your goals for the site? What does success look like for
this effort?

K: The current Galaxy Nexus is almost a year old, so it’s their next flagship phone that’s on the horizon for me. If Google releases that device for Ting, that’s the best possible outcome.

T: How can people help get the word out?

K: Tweet it, share it on your social networks, and let people know. There is a huge community of hobbyists who want a carrier with a transparent pricing model. Go on XDA-Developers or Reddit and you’ll find plenty of contempt for big phone companies charging for things like tethering or voicemail. People in the Android tech community really do want to just buy pristine phones outright, then pay for what they use.

T: What platform did you use before you made the move to Android?
Specifically, what was it about Android that made you switch?

K: The HTC G1 was my first smartphone and the first Android phone. Its main appeal at the time, honestly, was that it would synchronize over the air to my Gmail address book. Being a full-time developer and long-time Linux user, I also appreciate that most of Android is Open Source.

FWIW, I actually ordered a Galaxy S3. But I’m going to keep it in an Otterbox so that if Ting ever gets the next Nexus device, I can resell my S3 on Swappa and get the Nexus. The S3 is a great phone spec-wise, but I still prefer stock Android to Touchwiz.

Sign the petition to help get the Nexus line of devices on Ting

Device Update – SII on sale, SIII coming soon, mid-range Android and a QWERTY feature phone slider

Device Update – August 30, 2012

There’s a fair bit of hardware news to share so we’re not going to mince words. Well, maybe we’ll mince a couple…

Some of the device news for this week clarifies stuff we’ve already announced with firmer dates and more detail on device names, pricing and the like. We’ve got our share of new news to share too.

First things first…

Samsung Galaxy SII on sale

We’re knocking the price of the Samsung Galaxy SII down to below $400. Specifically to $390. The SII lost its pride of place as the top-end of the top of the line thanks to the Galaxy SIII. However, it’s still a powerhouse Android smartphone running a dual-core 1.2 GHz processor plus 1 GB of RAM and rocking a 4.5-inch Super AMOLED screen. With the recent OTA update it runs Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich as well.

Check it out and save a mint.

Samsung Galaxy SIII pre-orders: Shipment begins

If you pre-ordered the Samsung Galaxy SIII 32 GB Pebble Blue model in the first few minutes of the pre-order window opening, great news: Odds are good that your device is on its way to you now.

We received a small stock of SIIIs in the warehouse and are getting them out the door as quickly as is humanly possible. If you weren’t among the very first pre-orders, or if you ordered the 16 GB Pebble Blue or either capacity option of the Marble White Galaxy SIII, it’ll be just a little while longer; they’re in-bound to our warehouse. As soon as they arrive, our top priority is to get out the door and into your waiting arms.

We’ve got to applaud everyone’s patience thus far. We know how excruciating it is to wait for a hot new gadget to arrive. We’ll certainly keep everyone posted as stock arrives and shipments proceed.

Devices coming to Ting

HTC EVO 4G LTE

This is a super sweet smartphone with a 4.7-inch screen at 720×1280, runs Android 4.0, Ice Cream Sandwich and is coming soon to a Ting near you. Like one more sleep soon. Stay tuned. You can sign up for device alerts by logging in to your account or creating a new one (no purchase required, of course).

ZTE Warp

We’ve received a lot of requests for an Android smartphone in the mid-range of the price scale; as it stands, there’s a pretty big gap in our lineup between $200 and $400. This is one of the handsets that will help to fill that gap.

ZTE doesn’t have the same brand cachet as the likes of HTC, Samsung or other top-tier smartphone manufacturers but it makes good phones, offers them at decent prices and doesn’t mess with Android by adding skins or a bunch of silly add-on apps.

The Warp offers quite a bit for your buck: a 4.3-inch screen at 480×800, a 1 GHz processor and 512 MB of RAM and a 5 MP camera.

We expect to have this device up for pre-order in mid September and it will come in at under $250.

Airave incoming

Hope for people whose home or office get an intermittent or non-existant mobile signal: we’ll be adding the Airrave to our list of available devices as soon as possible. We’ll have a blog post dedicated entirely to this subject as details come available. The Airave is a femtocell device that plugs in to your home router in order to push voice traffic over the Internet. Your phone doesn’t need to have Wi-Fi turned on (or have Wi-Fi at all, for feature phone users). The Airrave is intended to seamlessly hand calls over from the Sprint network to your femtocell and vice-versa. It appears to your phone as a typical mobile signal and behaves in a similar way.

LTE data devices

We’re working to add LTE-ready data devices to Ting. However right now, it’s out of our hands while Sprint and the manufacturers figure things out. We’ll keep our ear to the ground and continue to ask questions in order to provide updates. As it stands though, there’s no news.

Home Phone Connect

No timeframes we can talk about right now but we’re considering adding Home Phone Connect. With Home Phone Connect you can plug in an analog phone (including a cordless) and make calls from home using your mobile number. If you’ve considered ditching your landline for a mobile solution, this is a great bet. More details soon.

Feature phone update

We’re working hard to get a flip feature phone in as soon as possible. It’s an obvious gap in our device lineup that we’re eager to fill. The Optimus Ss that we brought in at a special price to fill the feature phone gap have been flying out the door. We can’t tell you right this instant what the feature phone solution is. Not because we’re being cloak and dagger but because we’re not sure ourselves. As soon as we have a solution though, we’ll let you know.

We’re also adding a slider QWERTY feature phone but details on that will have to wait for the next device update.

BYOD update

In more somber news, it’s official: the Galaxy Nexus is out of the running as a Ting device. Even with BYOD in the works. Google seems to be taking a page from Apple’s book (careful you don’t get sued!) in very carefully vetting the carriers that are allowed to carry the device. MVNOs don’t seem to exist in the Google hive mind. If we sound bitter… well, we’re not. We’re deeply disappointed though and we realize we have to make great efforts to ensure “virtual network operators” like Ting are in the running for the next pure Google device.

BYOD – coming soon to Ting

UPDATE: BYOD for Sprint devices will hit beta testing soon. The latest details are in our BYO(S)D – Moving ever closer to Ting blog post.

Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of the most oft asked for features for Ting customers both current and would-be. It’s always been on our list and we’re always working to be able to offer it. That work is beginning to pay off. We’ll be rolling out the first phase of our BYOD program in Q4 of this year.

We’d say we’re excited to announce BYOD but that sounds too PR-ish. We’d say we’re super stoked to announce BYOD but that’d sound like we’re trying too hard. I guess you could say we’re at a loss for words to express just how super excitedly stoked we are to announce BYOD.

Before we dive in to the details on our upcoming BYOD plan, we want to manage some expectations. First, we’ll only be able to do BYOD for devices that work on the Sprint network initially [CLARIFICATION: and both Boost and Virgin mobile devices are excluded]. BYOSD, if you will. That said, this is a vital first step toward a more fluid mobile world where devices can move between carriers. We’ll continue to push. Second, this is not a backdoor to get the iPhone on Ting. BlackBerry, push to talk (PTT) and a small list of specific handsets won’t be BYODable (hey, it’s a word now). At least not immediately.

That said, for the vocal Windows Phone devotees we hear from, this development means that many Windows Phone devices purchased from Sprint can be brought over to and used on Ting. It also means that the super sweet Android smartphone you bought from Sprint can have a home on Ting and that the perfectly serviceable Sprint handset sitting in your desk drawer can come along too rather than taking a one-way trip to landfill.

We’ve got to hand it to Sprint on this too; this a brave and forward-thinking step. We partnered with Sprint because they’ve made it clear that virtual operators are important. This kind of development demonstrates just how important.

We’re still a good couple of months away from being able to offer BYOSD. Consider this a heads-up; if you’ve been hesitating on making the move to Ting because you’ve got a perfectly good Sprint device you’d like to bring along, you need hesitate no longer. Well. You need hesitate only a little while longer.

We must point out though, the sooner you move to Ting, the sooner you save. You can buy a Ting device knowing that your current Sprint handset can be handed over to your partner, your mom or the kids when BYOD hits. Running the numbers on the Ting calculator you’ll see that even factoring the device purchase price in, Ting will save you money on mobile. That said, if you have a reasonably current Sprint phone you paid good money for and would like to bring to Ting, you’ll realize those savings even sooner.

Our focus is on providing awesome and friendly mobile service. We’d much rather let our customers buy their phones from whatever outlet they prefer or bring their existing mobiles to Ting when their contract expires. This is a huge step in that direction.

How BYOSD on Ting will work

If you have a supported Sprint device that’s not under contract (or if you want to pay the ETF fees to get out of your contract), you’ll be able activate it on Ting just as you would a device that you purchased from us.

Your ex-Sprint device will use your Ting account’s pooled minutes, messages and megabytes.

Which phones are eligible for BYOSD?

Any Sprint phone will be eligible with a few notable exceptions including the iPhone, BlackBerry and PTT devices we mentioned before [CLARIFICATION: Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile devices are also not eligible for BYOD]. The list of exclusions isn’t finalized but will certainly be much shorter than the list of devices that can be brought over.

The reverse is also true

Any device purchased from Ting can also be BYOD’d to Sprint. It’s always been this way.

Strangely, we’re happy about this too. There are people who have been reluctant to try Ting because while we don’t (nor will we ever) lock devices, there’s a perception that a Ting device can only be used on Ting. This BYOD development makes the leap of faith more of a hop and people are more likely to give us a chance when Sprint is there as a fall-back plan. We’re sure that once mobile users get a taste of “mobile that makes sense,” they’ll have no desire to leave. That said, it’s the safety net that some people need.

We’ve been pushing hard for BYOSD. There’s still a bit of a wait but Q4 isn’t that far away. We’ll continue to push in an effort to make this happen in the earlier part of Q4.

As always, we’ll keep you posted. Follow our Device Updates feed to get the latest news.

If you want BYOD on Ting, please take a moment to fill out the quick survey that’s embedded below.

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