A few months ago AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon all started blocking wireless tethering apps in the Android Market, making them unavailable for download on their respective devices. At that time, Sprint was the only carrier still allowing tethering apps to be installed without limitation -- but that time has come to an end. That's right, the Now Network has begun blocking the installation of wireless tethering apps from the Market on any device attached to its network.
When Sprint confirmed that the iPhone 4S was headed to the US's Alamo of unlimited data, current Sprint subscribers feared that a tidal wave of iDevices could finally force the company to surrender to tiered data pricing.
Speaking to Forbes, CEO Dan Hesse said the iPhone was actually having the opposite effect, and that Apple's smartphone would actually reduce the rate of growth of smartphone data consumption because it uses Sprint's network more efficiently.
Sprint just released its Q3 earnings report, and while it's nothing to boast about, it does offer some encouraging numbers for the Now Network. Its operating revenue is up to $8.3 billion -- a slight jump up from this time last year. It also saw a major jump in wireless subscribers, adding 1.3 million new customers -- a five year high for the company. Out of the 1.3 million, 304,000 were post-paid, 485,000 were pre-paid, and 835,000 were wholesale.
There's been a lot of buzz over Sprint's LTE plans lately, but the company's vice president of network development and engineering, Iyad Tarazi has just added more fuel to the fire, indicating that Sprint plans to deploy LTE-Advanced in a 10x10 configuration by the first half of 2013, using its 800MHz spectrum, offering download speeds of around 12-15 MB/s.
Meanwhile, Sprint's deployment of LTE on their 1900MHz spectrum is still on track for commercial launch by mid-2012.
So, you want to jump over to Sprint, but don't need the fastest device on the planet?
Both Amazon Wireless and Wirefly have a good deal going on the just released EVO Design 4G by HTC: $50. Update: It's still $50 at Wirefly, but Amazon Wireless just dropped the price to $30. Of course, this requires a new two-year contract, so all current Sprintsters will be stuck paying $80, which still saves about $20 over the in-store price.
The mid-range Samsung Transform Ultra was recently announced for Boost Mobile, a pre-paid subsidiary of Sprint. It looks like the Now Network loved this little guy so much, though, that it just had to snag its own version, too -- but don't expect many (or any, really) changes over the Boost Version.
The Transform Ultra is sporting a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, 512MB RAM, a 3MP rear camera and VGA front-facing, with a 3.5-inch display, slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and Android 2.3.
If there's one thing the iPhone 4S seems to be screwing up after its very successful debut, it would seem to be Sprint's 3G. Since the launch of Apple's newest iThing, Sprint 3G speeds have absolutely tanked for users in many areas. How widespread is the problem? Well, this 45-page (and growing) thread with nearly 700 replies over on the Sprint Community forums would seem to indicate the answer is "very."
The problem has affected everyone - as shown by lackluster results from some of our own Sprint devices of late while on 3G.
If you're a Sprint customer who has been waiting for an Android device that incorporates Direct Connect functionality, then the Motorola Admiral has your name written all over it. This Blackberry-esque handset is the first Android-powered device to rock Sprint's push-to-talk functionality, wrapped in a rugged shell:
- 3.1-inch display
- 1.2GHz single-core processor
- 5MP rear shooter
- QWERTY keyboard
- 4GB internal storage, microSD card slot
- Gorilla Glass
- Dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, low pressure, and high/low temperature resistant
- Android 2.3.x
I have to say, I'm actually impressed with the look of this device.
After yesterday's absolutely insane phone announcement-bomb, HTC and Sprint have subtly unveiled the EVO Design 4G. If you're looking for an upper mid-range device that won't break the bank, the Design 4G has your number, as it's packing decent, but not (yet) outdated hardware:
- 4-inch qHD display
- 1.2Ghz single-core Snapdragon processor
- 5MP rear shooter with HD video capture (720p), 1.3MP ffc
- Android 2.3.5 with Sense
What? Google Voice is getting a feature update? People still work on Google Voice?
They're also working with other wireless carriers to enable the feature for all Voice users as soon as they can, so just sit tight if you're not on the Now Network -- shouldn't be too long.