Sprint (NYSE: FON) and Research In Motion (RIM) (Nasdaq: RIMM; TSX: RIM) today announced plans to offer BlackBerry® to Sprint business customers later this year. Under terms of the agreement, the wireless email solution will be available on select handheld devices certified to operate on the enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS network. Sprint also today announced the launch of Sprint PCS Vision(SM) Multimedia Services, a service that offers streaming video and audio content available nationwide.The Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Phone MM-A700 by Samsung® will be the first CDMA device in the United States to deliver streaming audio and video content from familiar sources such as CNN, Universal NBC, FOX Sports, The Weather Channel, E! Entertainment, mFlix, Twentieth Century Fox, AccuWeather and 1KTV.
BlackBerry is an award-winning platform that supports wireless access to a wide range of information and communications through email, phone, corporate data, SMS, calendar, corporate contacts and Internet applications. The availability of BlackBerry will further enhance the comprehensive portfolio of wireless email and mobility solutions Sprint currently offers to help business customers meet their communication needs and enhance productivity.
“Sprint recognizes that the BlackBerry solution has a strong following with many enterprise customers, including government, financial and legal services,” said Tim Donahue, vice president – Enterprise Marketing, Sprint Business Solutions. “By combining this popular platform with the clarity and breadth of the enhanced Sprint Nationwide PCS Network, Sprint can provide an attractive wireless offering to better serve these customers.”
For corporate customers, BlackBerry Enterprise Server software tightly integrates with Microsoft® Exchange or IBM Lotus® Domino™ (Novell GroupWise support is expected later this year) and works with existing enterprise systems to enable secure, push-based, wireless access to email and other corporate data.
“We have seen significant demand to offer BlackBerry on the Sprint Nationwide PCS Network, and we are pleased to partner with Sprint to deliver world-class products and services,” said Mark Guibert, vice president, corporate marketing at Research In Motion. “Interest in wireless data solutions continues to grow broader and deeper as customers realize the potential personal and business benefits. Our new relationship with Sprint will offer customers a leading network and a leading platform to support their existing and future needs.”
Further details regarding availability and pricing will be announced at a later date.
Sprint Launches Nationwide Streaming Video and Audio in United States on the First Built-In MediaPlayer Phone from Samsung
Consumers using this first-of-its-kind device and service will be able to access more than 600 new streaming video and audio clips every day, covering the latest news, weather, sports and entertainment. The service offers a wide range of content for everyone – from NFL injury reports to red-carpet interviews from E! Entertainment. The launch of this service further fortifies Sprint’s lead in the mobile data market.
“Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Services represents a milestone in delivering innovative new ways to connect people to the world around them where they want, when they want, in a dramatically new way,” said Jeff Hallock, vice president – Product Marketing and Strategy, Sprint. “Whether it’s an unforgettable moment during the presidential campaign, a summer games first or simply killing time with a needed fix for the best dressed at the Emmy Awards, Sprint is delivering an experience unlike anything seen before on a mobile phone.”
“Samsung is the first in the United States to offer a CDMA phone with the processing power capable of delivering streaming content,” noted Peter Skarzynski, senior vice president of Samsung’s wireless division. “The MM-A700 by Samsung showcases the breadth of Samsung’s capabilities by combining industry-best screens, hi-resolution imaging and streaming video technology in a distinct form factor consumers desire.”
The MM-A700 by Samsung enables customers to listen and view audio/video clips on-demand in real time directly from the phone’s 262K TFT full-color screen. The content, decompressed and played on the embedded media player, is directly delivered to the handset from the high-speed (CDMA1X) Sprint PCS Vision network, eliminating the download process and the storage of files on the handset. Video and audio content is streamed to the MM-A700 by Samsung at 15 frames per second (fps).
The 4.2-ounce clamshell MM-A700 by Samsung also features a megapixel camera and digital camcorder, allowing consumers to send/receive hi-resolution images or videos with Sprint PCS Picture Mail(SM) and Sprint PCS Video Mail services. Users also will enjoy the added benefit of the MM-A700 by Samsung’s Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) quality, providing unparalleled CD-like sound quality when listening to multimedia video and audio content such as Music Tone ringers from Sprint.
Sprint’s legacy with mobile multimedia began two years ago with the launch of industry-first technology like 1KTV and Idetic’s MobiTV, the leading provider of live and on-demand multimedia content for wireless networks.
With Sprint PCS Vision Multimedia Services, Sprint PCS Vision subscribers can browse and stream the various channels in the service. Initially, Sprint will offer 10 channels to choose from for accessing audio and video content. Content can be accessed in two primary categories:
1) My Channels: a ‘basic cable’ type package consisting of:
Ch. 1 = Sprint TV, which is a compilation of content from NBC, FOX Sports, The Weather Channel and more. The content and technology for Sprint TV are being delivered by MobiTV.
Ch. 20 = Twentieth Century Fox, that offers free movie trailers;
Ch. 49 = The Preview Channel, which offers free previews of all channels; and
Ch. 24 = Athens on Location – "Man on the street" interviews through Aug. 29.
2) Premium Channels: this is a more in-depth service that provides more content more frequently as determined by the channel content providers. The additional premium services channels available at launch are:
Ch. 2 = CNNtoGO - $4.95/month
Ch. 3 = FOX Sports - $4.95/month
Ch. 4 = The Weather Channel - $4.95/month
Ch. 5 = 1KTV - $4.95/month
Ch. 7 = mFlix - $4.95/month
Ch. 8 = E! Entertainment - $4.95/month
Ch. 14 = AccuWeather - $3.95/month
The providers determine and create the unique mobile viewing content and customers have the opportunity to subscribe to Sprint TV or one specific channel. The content providers offer new clips every day plus hourly updates, ensuring the content is fresh and current. Sprint TV content and premium channels will continue to be expanded.
The MM-A700 by Samsung is available in Sprint Stores nationwide and online at www.sprintpcs.com for at a retail price of $399.99 or $249.99 after rebate with two-year agreement. Sprint PCS Vision subscribers may add Sprint TV to their existing Sprint PCS Vision plan for $9.99 per month. Or, subscribers may choose the Sprint Multimedia Pack and get unlimited free access to Sprint TV, in addition to Picture Mail, Video Mail, Vision and 100 SMS for just $25.00 per month. All multimedia services plans are in addition to voice calling.
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