Sprint shows off iPhone lookalike

Sprint Nextel showed off a new iPhone look-alike from Samsung on Tuesday at the CTIA conference in Las Vegas that the operator says allows much faster data access then the Apple phone.

The Instinct, from Sprint and Samsung

The Instinct, co-developed by Sprint and Samsung, looks similar to the iPhone, including a touch screen. Unlike the iPhone, however, it includes GPS (Global Positioning System) and runs on Sprint’s high-speed EV-DO (Evolution-Data Optimized) Revision A network. Sprint’s network offers an average data download rate as high as 1.4Mbps. By contrast, EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution), which the iPhone operates on via AT&T’s network, usually offers less than 200k bps throughput.

Users of the Instinct will be able to access the Web at high speeds, watch TV, download music, get directions and access other entertainment services, said Dan Hesse, president and CEO of Sprint Nextel.

The Instinct features a 2.0-megapixel camera and comes with a 2GB microSD storage card. Sprint did not say how much the phone, which should be available in June, will cost.

The phone could be attractive to users of Sprint’s new subscription plans, which Hesse said go further than competitors’ plans. For $99, Sprint customers can get unlimited voice, text and data services. Other operators have recently rolled out similarly priced services that include unlimited voice but not unlimited data.

Sprint also hopes to make more applications available on the new phone by making it easier for developers to build applications for devices that run on Sprint’s network, Hesse said. The operator plans to expand its virtual testing services so that developers can better test their new applications, and will update its software development kit to make developing for Sprint easier, he said.

Even while touting Sprint’s existing network’s broadband capabilities, Hesse also looked to the future. “EV-DO is still not fast enough for true broadband experience,” he said. Sprint is building a WiMax network, already available after a soft launch in Chicago and the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area, to offer the next generation of wireless broadband.

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