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Application Developer Program and Open Strategy


Steve Elfman will respond to questions about the growth potential of wireless data and the value of delivering customers a Web 2.0 experience on their mobile devices today. He also will share insights from his keynote at the 8th annual Application Developer Conference, which is being held on Dec. 10-12.

Tristan : Thank you all for attending this Live Chat event. Thank you Steve for taking time to answer questions from Buzz About Wireless members about the Sprint Application Developer Program. The chat is now open so please submit your questions.

Steve Elfman : Hi – this is Steve Elfman. As the president of network operations and wholesale, I am responsible for product development and technology, our networks, our wholesale business and I’m delighted to be joining you for this chat. I am, and Sprint is too, a huge proponent of “open.” That means we want our customers to be able to get to anything they want and enjoy a true Web experience on their mobile device. We know that Sprint doesn’t have all the answers to what our customers want. That’s the developer community’s area of expertise – and we want them to be profitable and succeed! A year ago I was a member of the developer community, trying to develop apps that Sprint customers would enjoy. I understand first-hand the pros and cons of working with carriers to develop apps. I am eager to see what you’re thinking. So, let’s get started!

Mr.CSU2011 asked: What are your plans for a handset based application store on the Instinct, or other phones?

Steve Elfman : We don't have immediate plans , we are evaluating several options now. However, being more Open and providing tools for discovery (Search for instance) we expect developers will be able to get access to our consumer base.

John asked: Will / does the ADP program include development tools for WiMax devices?

Steve Elfman : We have announced and launched a dual mode aircard giving access on your laptop to th web. We have not announced any specific WIMAX devices - stay tuned.

ceiring asked: How does this new 'openness' help developers get access to the 'cool' APIs?

Steve Elfman : We will have enhanced "cool" API's that will provide capabilities such as : Customer status, location, preferences, specific Sprint customer insight. You will begin to see this in '09 on the Sprint Titan platform.

KillerBeagle asked: I understand you have some platforms going forward that have some degree of openness. However, what about very current Java platforms such as the Instinct whose useful APIs are almost all locked?

Steve Elfman : For Instinct Launch we needed to move quickly for competitive reasons. However thru PDP we do provide access to all API's on the handset. The Platform enablers that we announced yesterday Ulocate and Wavemarket don't require PDP to participate. more info can be found on

Hector asked: You currently carry 51 different handsets, each with a unique software stack and value proposition. Are you suggesting you have a plan for developers to write apps that work on all 51 phones or just a grouping of phones that have some common API?

Steve Elfman : We have heard that - and btw, I was on the other side and had to have games developed for many - so we are working on reducing the variability.

Will asked: Are there plans to put a more discoverable version of the Digital Lounge on the handsets, instead of the Text-Only WAP version?

Steve Elfman : We have been looking at options, but think that investing more in being open makes most sense - so we will provide more choice for storefront apps.

Bill asked: I've read some people having difficulty getting accepted into the ADP and Premiere developer program; what's being done to streamline the application process?

Steve Elfman : So > 95% of the applicants have been accepted. If you have ideas for streamlining we are all ears.

d0lph1nK1ng asked: Would you please open up the Instinct APIs so that it does not cost $3,000 in order to write an application that uses something like the GPS?

Steve Elfman : GPS rules are govened by privacy - the enablers program is another approach for you to have access to LBS - on the instinct

Wayne asked: Sprint's been very open about allowing third party software to run on the handsets. Are you working to leverage any relationships, like with ?

Steve Elfman : Great example of a 3rd party storefront - this is Open - try doing this on an iphone

Paul asked: Steve, For those looking to develop applications for the recently announce Sprint Titan commercial platform, do you expect Sprint will create a showcase or otherwise help promote such applications?

Steve Elfman : Yes - we are planning on a storefront for Sprint Titan content.

SamsungFan asked: What's the process to get an application in the Digital Lounge? How long would it take? Do I have to pay that $5,000 I've heard about?

Steve Elfman : Well it won't cost you $5000 and you can get on the Digital lounge - but the issue is there are lots and lots that are in the Queue - so not as fast as an Open environement.

kbrooking asked: Does Sprint plan to offer additional MVM type devices in the future?

Steve Elfman : Majority of Power Vision and Iden devices support MVM. We will continue as we launch new devices.

kbrooking asked: Are there any plans to offer an SDK in the future for the Airave devices?

Steve Elfman : We are currently evaluating this as we bring Femtocells to market.

ProtoDev asked: PC's and now Handsets (well, the iPhone and Symbian) have always had a huge shareware / garage developer community, with lots of the 'killer apps' coming from non-professional developers. Is this new openness going to help the small developer to gain access to support, documentation and resources?

Steve Elfman : Indeed - Sprint Titan platform - developers can leverage existing code that will be available opensource. A developer can borrow and share code to build apps. We will also be developing a sandbox for developers for free - yay

Mike asked: How does the new Titan program help Instinct developers - anything similar for the Instinct?

Steve Elfman : Not currently - stay tuned

asked: Great news on “Sprint 3G Data Service Speeds Top AT&T and Verizon in Download Performance Test” by Gizmodo. Are there any plans on making the location based services available through data/air cards?

Steve Elfman : We were really excited about this. YEs we are working on a set of LBS API's

philtom asked: How about Android vs MIDP devices? Does Sprint have any plans to pursue one over the other? Or is it just too soon to make decisions regarding direction? As a developer, I wonder where to put my resources.

Steve Elfman : We have plans to pursue Android, but it is not an or condition but rather and And

Levi4u asked: With all the money spent on advertising the Instinct, Why are you skipping over developing APPs and now putting your resources into titan? We kept our phones with the understanding sprint was going to support it.

Steve Elfman : Instinct is our leading data centric device that has driven data adoption. With latest software release - Instinct supports running most java apps.

David asked: Are there any plans on organizing a open developer conference by Sprint?

Steve Elfman : good question - stay tuned

David asked: Are there are plans on making MS-Assisted location fixes from Sprint Windows Mobile devices?

Steve Elfman : Under development

Jimmy asked: Is there a better way to upload apps other than Rumkin? Are you going to put an app uploader on your site, so we can run our own games, etc?

Steve Elfman : There is a free uploader supporting both CDMA and IDEN available on the ADP website.

Hector asked: I finally read your press release while waiting...looks like your are supporting Windows Mobile devices first with your 'open' announcement...why WM? that's already the most 'open' platform you sell, out of the box.

Steve Elfman : Sprint Titan enables features not supported on Windows Mobile out of the box, we will be deployuing on other platforms going fwd.

philtom asked: My understanding of PDP pricing is basically $2500 per certified application (with the intial $5k including two apps). How are future releases of that application handled? What charges apply for the certification of each version?

Steve Elfman : Its $5k/yr + $1k per app. Take a look at for the details.

Rick asked: What are some of the open initiatives on iDEN side?

Steve Elfman : We r looking at enabling downloads from any website and also enabling Push to talk in the Java App.

ProtoDev asked: Since you're focusing on the open (build your own store) side of things, will Sprint be putting any of their marketing muscle into helping third party stores or applications get visibility?

Steve Elfman : This is a good question - we are contemplating this right now. No answer today

Ron asked: Are there any plans in managing a free/open storefront by sprint? Meaning, any developer can submit an app to the storefront that customers can download at no cost?

Steve Elfman : I think we have answered this. There are other 3rd party sites to allow free content to customers - not something we have immediate plans to offer.

T-Mobile Customer asked: We've got the Android G1 phone. Dan said it's not ready for prime time. When will Sprint have an Android handset?

Steve Elfman : We are not announcing our specific roadmap and timing.

Hector asked: Will you have more intelligent devices coming out that support Java SE (superset of ME, sophisticated development, less memory limitations, etc). After all, your goal is to tap desktop developers.

Steve Elfman : Sprint Titan offers a development environment that mirrors the desktop. Web development and java script are your friends. go to developer website for more details

Web2.0 asked: Sprint has lots of data and info stored in their website (MySprint) that I'd like to use. Are there any plans to open up API's into MySprint so I can build mashups with address book, call data, text messages, etc?

Steve Elfman : good question - currently Privacy laws make this difficult to make available.

Tristan : Thank you all for attending and asking a bunch of great questions. As usual we didn’t get to all of them. We’ll work with Steve to get responses to those and post them to the forums in the next couple of days. Thanks again and happy holidays.