Well, the first serious impact from the "iPhone effect" just hit -- Sprint Nextel
In a direct play against Apple's
Available this month, the Upstage device has screens on both sides -- one for making phone calls, and the other, larger screen on the flip side for managing music and media. It's a full-featured device, with an integrated camera and access to Sirius
The media phone has had mixed reviews so far, but it's already broken through a few barriers necessary for the integrated devices to really be successful. First, it's priced right. With a contract commitment, the Upstage will only lighten the pockets of teen music maniacs by $150 -- compared to the $499 expected for the cheapest iPhone. More importantly, full song downloads done over the air are priced at the iPod-standard $0.99. Previously, Sprint and other wireless carriers demanded $2 or more per song for over the air downloads.
As always, there's a catch -- to get $0.99 songs, users must sign up for one of Sprint's Data Service Packs, starting at $10 per month. Still, consumers are much less likely to balk at this deal, especially when they compare it to Sprint's current $2.49 price for songs from its library.
Sprint's first foray into this area probably won't measure up to the iPod standard for ease of use, but the economics of the offering are encouraging. It will be interesting to see whether other device makers such as Motorola
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