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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 into 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?

Win Won: a Nexus 7 and Ting Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot

UPDATE: We have a winner! Congrats to @charlesschr. Your Nexus 7 and Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot are on their way out to you now.

Thanks to everyone that entered. We’re already cooking up our next giveaway idea so watch this space and this space too!

The slick Nexus 7 and the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot are a match made in high-tech heaven. As we hope we’ve adequately pointed out in our Ting loves tablets post.

To drive the point, we’re giving away a Nexus 7 tablet and a Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot.

Tweet to win a Nexus 7 and Express Mobile Hotspot

If you’re not already a Ting customer, first ask yourself why. Get really soul-searching about it. Next, grab a couple of recent bills from your current mobile service provider and run the numbers on the Ting Calculator. Share your potential savings on Twitter by clicking the handy Tweet button on the Ting Calculator page and you’re in the running.

Here’s a sample tweet:

I would save $XX.XX/mo. with Ting mobile. Calculate your savings to win a Nexus 7 tablet + hotspot. http://ow.ly/cXVk3 #Ting

or click for a pre-populated Tweet.

If you’re already a Ting customer, please accept our heartfelt gratitude and, instead of sharing what you could save, share what you are saving with Ting versus your previous mobile carrier.

Here’s a sample tweet:

I’m saving $XX.XX/mo. with Ting mobile. Calculate your savings to win a Nexus 7 tablet + hotspot. http://ow.ly/cXVk3 #Ting

or click for a pre-populated Tweet.

So calculate your savings and share for a chance to win.

We should point out: Promotion ends on Aug. 17. US only. No purchase necessary. Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot can only be used on Ting. You must have a valid post-paid credit card if you wish to become a Ting customer.

Ting <3 tablets, tablets <3 Ting

Whether you opted for the Wi-Fi only iPad or jumped on the Nexus 7 train where Wi-Fi is the only option, a mobile hotspot makes a perfect match for your tablet. Perhaps predictably, we’d argue that tablet-matching mobile hotspot should come from Ting.

While tablets are included in the major carrier’s new shared data plans, the fees for adding a device are steep. Contrast that with Ting where there’s a flat $6/mo. fee to keep a device alive on the network and where all your devices use the same pool of minutes, messages and megabytes of data. You’ll have a mobile data connection when you need it, but you’re not paying much to keep that mobile data option alive when you don’t.

Another option is to just tether your tablet to your Ting Android smartphone running in mobile hotspot mode. Tethering is included with Ting service at no additional charge; you only pay for the megabytes of data you actually use.

Granted, using a mobile hotspot isn’t quite as convenient as having a cellular radio built right in to your tablet. However, it offers much more flexibility. With a hotspot, you can offer up your mobile data connection to any Wi-Fi enabled devices you want; laptops, tablets, netbooks, whatever.

Consider the fact that a mobile-connecting iPad comes at a $100 price premium; you can purchase the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot for a few bucks more and get much greater flexibility as part the deal.

Perfect data device for the Nexus 7

The Nexus 7 running Jelly Bean, Android 4.1, is the new tablet darling. With good reason. It’s small, light, sharp and smooth as silk. More though, Jelly Bean offers an interesting but less publicized new feature: the ability to denote a Wi-Fi access point as a mobile access point. In short, tell your Nexus 7 that the Wi-Fi signal coming from your Express Mobile Hotspot or Android phone in Portable Hotspot mode uses the mobile data network and the Nexus 7 will scale back its data demands; you’ll use less mobile data and with Ting, that also means you’ll pay less.

Take a look at the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot: the ultimate tablet companion.

Device update: Samsung Galaxy SIII on Ting

In our previous device update, we mentioned that it’s always darkest before the dawn; getting the latest and greatest devices and keeping the tried and true handsets in stock has proven to be our biggest challenge to date. With that in mind…

Let there be light!

We’re super excited about the Ting device roadmap looks for the next few months and beyond. We’re focussing this device update on a few phones that are either coming soon or back in stock. Let’s get started with the news we’re perhaps the most eager to talk about, the first LTE device available on Ting…

Samsung Galaxy SIII

It’s coming! On our recent trip to Sprint HQ, we got a lot accomplished. A lot of back-end stuff we’ll be sharing in the coming months. Most notable, at least in the near-term, is the Samsung Galaxy SIII.

The SIII hits as we flip the switch to begin offering LTE wherever Sprint’s LTE network reaches. It’s now available for pre-order and will ship in three to six weeks. We recently had a chance to test-drive LTE. It’s difficult to describe how fast without dipping into our pool of expletives and superlatives. Suffice it to say though, “speeds that rival your home wired Internet connection” are not just hyperbole. LTE is insanely fast and coming soon for Ting customers.

We realize this is a pretty wide window and harkens back to the halcyon days of comic book ads when you’d have to check the mailbox every day to see if your Sea Monkeys had arrived yet. We’re sorry we can’t be more specific; chalk it up to moving parts and not wanting to make promises we can’t keep. Three weeks is the best case, six is the worst and somewhere in between is most likely. We’ll communicate throughout the process so you’re always in the loop.

Ting will offer four different versions of the Samsung Galaxy SIII. “Pebble Blue” and “Marble White” with a 16GB and 32GB version of each color. The 16GB in either color goes for $539. The 32GB versions are $579.

Better yet: we’re giving away two free SIIIs. For pre-orders of any one of the Samsung Galaxy SIII color and capacity variations, we’ll refund the full device sticker price to two of the first 200 pre-orders, upon activation. If you’re one of the fortunate two, you’ll only be on the hook for the taxes as crediting those raises IRS issues which no one in their right mind wants to wade in to.

Check out the Ting devices page hit the pre-order pages for the Pebble Blue 16GB, the Pebble Blue 32GB, the Marble White 16GB or the Marble White 32GB to drop some hard-earned on what is quite possibly the coolest phone in the known universe. Not to oversell it or anything.

LG Optimus Elite – White

The LG Optimus Elite takes over for the most popular Ting smartphone to date, the LG Optimus S. The LG Optimus Elite is back in stock after some supply issues and also, starting today, is also available in a white model. The Elite is available in black and white variations and comes in at under $200. If you’ve already pre-ordered an LG Optimus Elite, you’ll get yours first. Only fair, right?

We’ve made a lot of progress toward rectifying the supply issues we’ve faced in trying to keep a healthy stock of Ting devices available. We feel we’ve got a much better handle on the situation and our partners are stepping up their respective games to ensure we don’t have another challenging device period like the one we’re now emerging from.

Check out the LG Optimus Elite and the LG Optimus Elite White

Samsung Transform Ultra

Another popular phone, the $205 Samsung Transform Ultra moves from backorder to in-stock. If you made a backorder purchase, your phone will leave the warehouse on Monday Aug. 6 if indeed it doesn’t start its journey on Friday.

Device sale continues!

The device sale that sees the Samsung Galaxy SII in white at $435 ($50 off), the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot at $110 ($15 off) and the Sierra 250u at $77 ($23 off) continues! We’re fast running out of the Galaxy SII White and when they’re gone, they’re gone for good.

In other news…

We’re continuously working to get the gear you want into our lineup. In our next device update, we’ll have some more exciting news on this front. Spoiler alert: that means things like an LTE hotspot, a mid-range LTE smartphone, an inexpensive slider, an accessible phone for the visually impaired or really, anyone that prefers big buttons and large fonts and the very early stages of a bring your own device plan.

We’re also working to get a Windows Phone handset for the devotees we’ve been hearing from. Unfortunately, this is a bit further out, likely in Q1 in 2013.

On another oft-requested phone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, we’ve not made much progress in getting Google to give it up. As it stands, the only way to get the Galaxy Nexus onto Ting is with some hacking. As such, it’s not for the faint of heart but if you’re the hacker sort, we won’t stand in the way of your efforts.

We’re also working hard get the iPhone. No earth shattering news on that front as yet but we’re definitely seeing some progress.

Dawn rising in Overland, Kansas during our visit to Sprint HQ earlier this week

Summer Photo Fun contest!

© Copyright Ross and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

We just launched the Ting Summer Photo Fun event. Submit a photo to the Facebook Summer Photo Fun event page for a chance to win one of… well, one white Samsung Galaxy SII smartphone. The winner will be selected based on the number of Likes their picture receives. Invite your friends and ask them to vote for your pic.

The even runs until July 31 at 10am EST when we’ll crunch the numbers and figure out who the winner is.

A bit of weirdness we need to point out. If you win, we’ll give you a device credit to cover the full purchase price. However, you’ll still have to “buy” the device from Ting. If your state collects sales tax, you’ll have to pay that amount, but we’ll immediately give you a full Ting service credit to cover this cost.

A Ting device update: here now, coming soon and beyond

Photo by Ting Employee Frank Lemire

It has been an exciting month since our last device update. While it has certainly been the most challenging in our short lifetime, we continue to make improvements and learn valuable lessons. We had anticipated further stress on the device ecosystem as a result of the deployment of LTE, but we were a little surprised at some of the issues we encountered. There is an expression “it is always darkest before the dawn,” and while we have had some challenges in the last 30 days, we are quite optimistic that things are going to get better in the near term.

As a public company, there are restrictions around how much information we can share in regards to our sales performance, but I can say that we have been doing well in spite of having some holes in our device lineup. This has placed additional stress on our inventory, but unlike many of the other challenges we have faced, we are thrilled to have this problem! Thanks to all who have helped spread the word!

Ting devices available now or coming soon

One of our most popular devices, the LG Optimus S, has sold out as of last week. We were always planning to replace it with the next generation model, but we were caught short-handed and had hoped to have it around for a little longer. The new Optimus Elite will be made available for sale as soon as we have confidence in shipping dates. Hopefully this will be online for pre-order in the next two weeks. We are working on getting some more Optimus S at a reduced price point, but can not confirm this today.

The Samsung Conquer is back in stock after being on backorder, however this device will no longer be available once we sell our current inventory. So if you are planning on getting this device, order soon!

The Samsung Transform Ultra is a very capable and popular device. We’re pleased to report we have it in stock again. After slipping into a backorder state recently, we have a good supply and expect to have it in our lineup for the next few months. We have had lots of positive feedback from customers on this well designed phone.

In the feature phone segment, we know there is a LOT of demand for a flip phone. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we have had a hole in this segment for longer than we would like. The Kyocera Brio is a great value in the low-end, but for those who MUST have a flip phone, we expect to offer the Samsung M370 for pre-order in the next 2-3 weeks.

Looking further ahead…

Early in the fall we expect to offer a new Samsung slider at a great price point. It looks like we will also have a feature phone designed for seniors. That is, it has a large, easy to see and use numeric pad NOT a built in bingo app. Perfect for getting Grandma and Grandpa saving with Ting.

We are in the process of building in support for LTE within our backend systems, and while it is not that big of a job for our rockstar development team, there are some dependencies outside our control that prevent me from giving a firm launch date today. This is a high priority for us though, as many of the iconic devices we plan on offering in the fall will be LTE devices.

The LG Viper will be our first LTE device, available for ~$365 when we launch LTE. The Samsung Galaxy S3 and HTC Evo 4G will be available shortly thereafter, barring any issues outside our control.

We have had a lot of demand for the Google Galaxy Nexus, and have spent a lot of time working on being able to get it for you. Because it is an LTE device,  we must first launch LTE before making it available. I wish I could tell you that I am certain we will be able to get it after we launch LTE, but as of this morning I can not do that. Rest assured we are working on it, and if there is any way we can, we will.

The word on Windows 8 devices is that we are waiting for more information on what the roadmap looks like for later this year. My sense is that these plans are being finalized now / soon, and once we have more details we can properly evaluate how that might work for us. We have had a lot of demand for Windows devices, and we hear you!

Ting devices: On sale now!

As a token of our appreciation to everyone who has provided us with feedback, promoted our services, helped out other customers in the forums, or just been patient in waiting for devices to ship or become available, we are having an impromptu “it’s summer and we are always learning more about the device supply chain” sale (catchy title, no?) on some devices. Anyone who bought these devices in the last 30 days can contact customer support to get a credit for the difference.

The Samsung Galaxy S2 (white) is back in stock, and we are pleased to offer it for $435, saving you $50!

After some supply issues, we are relieved to have the Huawei Express Mobile Hotspot back in stock and available for sale, at a reduced price of $110! Supplies are limited though, so don’t delay if you want one.

We have also reduced the price for the Sierra 250U 3G/4G USB data stick as of today, and is a great value for Windows users. Once we sell through our current inventory they will no longer be available.

If you are interested in having us contact you with breaking device news as it happens, you can sign up for our red alert, super special, breathless, breaking device news mailing list using the form below, or follow us on Facebook / Twitter.

As always, thanks for your comments, questions, and support of Ting!