Sprint Express

It's amazing how cheap entry level phones are getting.  The new Sprint Express, a U.S. version of the Huawei Boulder, is certainly not going to set the mobile world on fire with its 600 MHz clock speed, but it's interesting in what it could say for the future of phones.

On the spec side of things, the Sprint Express is a mixed bag.  The slow clock speed coupled with a 2.6-inch screen isn't going to win over die-hard Android fans, and both specs are pretty weak even for starter handsets, but the rest of it doesn't sound too bad.  Quite frankly, if you're in need of a mobile hotspot, this might not be a bad way to go for anyone: You can share the connection with up to five devices, and you'd have a phone to boot.  Sounds like a better deal than a MiFi at least if you're current phone isn't offering up that functionality.

We've been seeing a ton of entry level smartphones as of late, but most of them share a common trait of running on Android 2.2, and even 2.1 in some cases.  The Sprint Express is running Android 2.3 Gingerbread, and while Ice Cream Sandwich is staring us in the face, getting the most recent OS on to a $20 handset intrigues me.  Considering the OS is free to manufacturers, it has never made sense to me why they go back a generation or two when it isn't costing them anything.  Is developing the skin the issue?  Well, then run the basic version, it won't be the worst thing in the world to happen.  Just because folks are new to smartphones, or they can't afford the latest and greatest, doesn't mean they shouldn't be able to get the latest version of Android.  (Again, I know ICS is coming, but, for now, Gingerbread is still the newest)

Check out the full release for more details.

Express from Sprint™ Available Today for Just $19.99, Provides a Customizable Experience with Android 2.3 Featuring Sprint IDExpress from Sprint™ is available today via Sprint Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1), Web Sales (www.sprint.com) and can be ordered in any Sprint retail store. It costs just $19.99 (excluding taxes) with a new-line activation (or eligible upgrade), on an Everything Data Plan with Premium Data add-on and two-year agreement after a $50 mail-in rebate via reward card1.

Express from Sprint is an ultra-affordable candy bar style device boasting Android 2.3 and featuring Sprint ID, which takes mobile phone customization to a new level. It features a 2.6-inch capacitive touch display, full QWERTY keyboard and access to select Sprint ID packs. It’s an easy-to-use smartphone for the socially connected consumer.

Key features include:

Android 2.3, Gingerbread, featuring Sprint ID customizable user interface
Full QWERTY keyboard
2.6-inch capacitive touch display
3.2MP camera with flash and camcorder to capture the moments instantly
3G hotspot capability for up to five devices simultaneously
Wi-Fi b/g/n capable Large battery for maximizing phone’s potential (1500mAh Li-Ion)

Sprint ID is a unique, simplified way to find apps and to customize wireless devices. Sprint ID packs deliver a variety of apps, widgets, shortcuts, ringtones and wallpapers – designed to meet users’ specific mobile needs and interests – in a few simple clicks. Sprint ID packs are free to download with an Everything Data plan and users can download five at once. To see all Sprint ID packs, visit www.sprint.com/sprintid.

Express from Sprint requires activation on one of the Sprint Everything Data plans plus a required $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge for smartphones. Sprint’s Everything Data plan with Any Mobile, AnytimeSM includes unlimited Web, texting and calling to and from any mobile in America while on the Sprint Network, starting at just $69.99 per month plus required $10 per month Premium Data add-on charge – a savings of $40 per month vs. Verizon’s comparable plan with unlimited talk, text and 2GB Web, or $10 per month vs. Verizon’s 450-minute plan with unlimited text and 2GB Web.

The mobile hotspot option is available for an additional $29.99 per month supporting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices simultaneously. Monthly mobile hotspot data usage is limited to 5GB of data while on the Sprint network2.

1The American Express Prepaid Reward Card ("Card") provided in connection with this Rebate offer is a prepaid Card that is usable only at U.S. merchants that accept American Express Cards. Some limitations apply. Offer valid only in the United States and Puerto Rico. The Card is not redeemable for cash (except where required by law) and does not provide ATM access. Use of Card constitutes acknowledgement that it is given as a reward and no consideration, value, or money has been paid by the holder to American Express in exchange for this Card. USE OF CARD IS SUBJECT TO THE CARDHOLDER AGREEMENT. SUBJECT TO APPLICABLE LAW, A $3.00 MONTHLY FEE WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST CARD BALANCE, STARTING SIX MONTHS AFTER CARD ISSUANCE. Card expires six years after the date of issuance if not depleted before. For BALANCE, customer service and Cardholder Agreement, visit americanexpress.com/sprint or call 866-608-3756. Card issued by AEPCMC under license from American Express Prepaid Card Management Corporation, Travel Related Services Company, Inc. 2On-network overage charges are $0.05/MB. Off-network roaming is limited to 100MB per month. Off-network overage charges are $0.25 per/MB.