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David Owens Chat Transcript - 10/29

Sarah: We're thrilled to have David Owens, VP of Consumer Marketing here with us to chat about Sprint's exciting device line-up. I will be reviewing your questions prior to sending them to David, so please stay on topic. For questions related to device issues, please visit the Sprint.com online community.
David: Thanks for taking the time to participate in today's chat. I look forward to your questions, so let's get started.
Ace: Will Sprint be getting any blackberries with wifi this year?
David: today sprint offers the BB tour which includes wifi.
Will: We're going to have far more questions than David can answer in just one hour; David will be posting more answers to your questions over the next few days on the Sprint Community!
David: hang on a minute i went a little fast, we are adding wifi to tour and will have other bb products that include wifi going forward
AdamJaworski: When will Sprint release Android 2.0 for the Hero and Moment?
David: part of the beauty of android is the ability to upgrade the os and we will work to do that quickly but it was important to be out early with both Hero and Moment. Both products are getting great reviews
boliviano3: I'm sure this has been asked already but will Sprint be coming out with the HTC HD2?
David: I can't talk about our 2010 roadmap specifically but I can tell you Sprint has a robust 2010 roadmap with HTC. The roadmap will lead the industry in a host of capabilities and will be on the android platform
AdamJaworski: What's the word on Windows Mobile 6.5 updates for the Touch, Diamond, Touch Two, etc?
David: We are working on 6.5 updates and are in the testing phase.  Plan on early 2010.
lwatcdr: Does the Samsung Moment come with a compass?
David: The compass application is available in the android market. It is also available on the Hero. Both products have the hardware to make sure the compass works effectively
Ace: Will Sprint be getting any touchscreen blackberries like the storm 2?
David: Not commenting on 2010 roadmap, but we'll have a robust BB line-up.
kevd: David, can you please discuss price point on Android-based devices? When do you see Android addressing the low-end smartphone or high-end feature phone segment price point of $100 at retail?
David: We're pretty aggresively priced now, but as we see volume across the industry, you'll see opportunities for price declines and promotions.
FJDave: Hi David. Thank you for taking time to come here and chat with us customers. Regarding the new Samsung, how will it compare to a Blackberry 8330? I am a Blackberry and Palm Treo fan, and I know nothing about the new Andriod OS or the new Samsung with physical keyboard. Thanks for your time!
David: The beauty of the android OS is the application integration with google and also the android market that provides over 10K applications (many of which are free). The other great thing about android is the host of hardware options you will have. For example, we have the HTC hero that is 100% touchscreen with a great customizable ui structure. We have the Samsung moment that has a full qwerty keyboard and new display technology for a crisper screen.
G-189339073: Are there any plans to bring back a tethering add on to the everything data and simply everything plans
David: not at this time.
MikeL: How are you feeling about the WiMax (4G) alliance with Clearwire, and what are the implications for the upcoming fall lineup? (Sorry if covered already)
David: Great alliance.  Initially lots of traction in MBB cards, handsets and non-traditional devices will come in 2010.
CaseyB: Any chance of a touch-screen phone that does not require a data account?
David: yes, you will see touchscreen products early in 2010 that are non-PDA. We still believe customers will want to explore data services but there will be options.
Sarah: Just an FYI to those sending account and phone related issues - I am not sending those through to him. Please post those issues in the online community.
G-189628820: what (if anything) is sprint doing to help grow the Palm app store?
David: Adding another device, the Palm Pixi. It takes awhile to build scale and an ecosytem. They're making great progress as of late. Great showing at the Developer's Conference.
tlevelle: Are you saying that the 2010 roadmap is Android only??
David: No, you will a broad array of android products, we have a strong BB roadmap and will continue to build on our Brew platform (for feature phones). Remember, about 30% of the market is buying smartphones so we need to address all audiences.
boe: Would Sprint be willing to explore beta testers for community members who really care about phones - we see the same issues on many phones such as BT not getting tested and so Sprint releases phones with issues which could be avoided if they were beta tested by a more thorough evaluation. Sprint could be a prefered business phone provider if the phones they released worked great even on launch day
David: It's tricky. Our development timeframe is compressed to get products to market. We do pretty extensive alpha and beta testing both internally and externally today.
ajaxxx: are there any new phones launching this holiday season we can look forward to?
David: Wow, we have announced the Palm Pixi (nov 15th launch), the HTC Hero, The Samsung Moment, the samsung Instinct HD. The reviewers are saying Sprint has the best line-up for holiday of any of the carriers so we are really happy with the lineup.
scooter: Any new direct connect phones in the future
David: Yes, exciting stuff coming, but not announcing details today.
MAGGIE: What month (approx) will you be releasing the new line up for 2010?
David: We don't announce the line-up, but rather announce products when close to launch. We've got a few things we'll announce in the near future that bolster our already robust line-up.
Hans: Have you seen a significant increase in new consumer accounts since the addition of, "Any Mobile, Anytime"?
David: Any Mobile has been a huge success. We can't share the results but the product is meeting our business case expectations and don't forget we gave this to millions of existing customers and the feedback has been tremendous.
Omaraye: I am an early adopter of the Airave, does Sprint have any plans to upgrade this device to support data as well as the already supported voice?
David: We haven't announced anything formally but believe this technology has incredible value for customers and continue to look at ways to deploy the next generation.
tlevelle: What market segment would you say is the focus for Sprint's 2010 & beyond phone line-up? It clearly does not seem to be the professional community, correct?
David: Hmm, we hit a little bit of everyone. Great business devices with WinMo, BB, webOS, 4G, and Mobile Broadband devices. Great devices for early adopters with Android and 4G. Great fashion and green devices. Great value and text messaging devices. Great Direct Connect line-up.
Tina: I would like commend Spring on the new plan mobile to mobile any network. Im a Verizon customer but will be switching as soon as the new Tour is available.
David: The tour is availble now and thank you for your comment. It is great that you see the incredible value sprint has in its plans and look forward to having you as a customer.
mznette: What will be the best phone for a person looking for a lot of apps and being able to take good pics/video, watch videos and listen to music. also allowing multiple app usasge at one time?
David: Android and webOS (no video), BlackBerry and WinMo also great.  Palm Pre and Pixi are great multi-taskers.
h: Will there be an advertizing campagin for the Hero?
David: Definitely.  From both HTC and Sprint.  Watch for commercials and print soon.
Will: We've got about 30 minutes left - and over 100 questions in the queue! David will be trying to get as many answered as possible, but we can't answer them all. Check the Sprint Community over the next few days for more answers from David and team to your questions!
tlevelle: Which of Sprint's current phones do you feel best addresses the business customer's productivity needs?
David: It depends on what specifically you are trying to address. The beauty of WebOS (Palm), BB (RIM) and android (Samsung Moment and Hero)is they all provide great business capabilities. We also have the HTC Touchpro 2 which is a great windows device. The issue is around personal choice and what you like. Do you need a keyboard, enjoy touchscreen, have applications you are looking for. If you come to our store we can help make sure you make the right choice.
gb: Will Sprint be offering an international phone with the Android OS?
David: Certainly a possibility but nothing this year.  Intrepid, Tour, and Touch Pro2 are best international options today.
skeptic: will you have any decent non-flip/non-slide/nonsmart phones???
David: The Sanyo 2700 sounds perfect for you
jacoro: Why will the HTC Touch Pro 2 not be available in stores?
David: Channel decision for now.  Available in direct channels today.
widjit: what are the possibilities of a snapdragon based android phone
David: We don't make our decisions on processors but more about the device in total. That said, the moment has a 800mhz processor that is fantastic.
QDW: When will the first Windows Mobile 7 phone be available?
David: Planned for 2010, more dependent on Microsoft's timeline though.
bniel: Any idea on a release date for tour with WiFi - contract is up and my boss is really pushing my to get an iPhone
David: stay firm, we will have BB options with Wifi soon.
royals122: Verizon and T-Mobile seem to be running many ads featuring their android phones. With Sprint's exciting new Android phones coming out on the market, why don't I see any advertising about them? Thanks
David: Coming real soon.  Hero has sold incredibly well without advertising, but you will see significant advertising very soon.
it: when will the new blackberry that runs on 4g network be coming out?
David: Not commenting on 2010 roadmap.  4G handsets are planned though.
Dave: Do you have any phones with GPS capability
David: Most.
AdamJaworski: Will there be any more iDEN network handsets coming out?
David: Launched a couple lately including Clutch.  More coming soon.
msk: Will the smartphone lineup for Fall require an Everything plan?
David: webOS, Instinct, and Android lines.
KEVINPK: I am a Sprint Premier and have been with Sprint for nearly nine yers I thank you for all the positive things that are and will continue to happen
David: Spread the word!
G-188345290: why should I choose sprint
David: This is a softball.  Thank you.
David: Great 3G network - PC world just ranked us #1 in 3g reliability. Also, we are 2X the size of ATT and 14X the size of Tmobile's 3G network
David: Best Rate Plan Value - we save customers significantly every month vs. ATT and Verizon. With our new Any Mobile Anytime, customers get an unlimited wireless experience including unlimited calling (wireless to wireless), unlimited text and data for under $70 per month. For families of four, we provide an unlimited wireless experience for each family member for $42.50. It can't be best.
David: We have the best device selection: Per earlier questions: We offer the pre, pixi, Tour, HTC Hero and Samsung Moment. The best in the industry.
David: Thanks again for the question.
dennyd: With the huge impact that the device subsidy has on Sprint's P&L, will we see non plastic devices designed for long term use?
David: We do rugged today.  Seems people want new technology every couple years.  It's a balancing act.
JamieLynn: Radio shack has the samsung moment available, why is it not on sprint.com yet?
David: Coming soon.  Really soon.
UtahMoon: What does the android OS offer to an average user looking to upgrade their phone.
David: Apps, customization, great Google and Outlook integration.
HD2: David you did not answer question about holiday season, is there any phones coming that we dont know about for this holiday season?
David: Pixi and Moment coming.  Couple others up our sleeve.  Check back often.
MAGGIE: Do you have a newsletter or email circulation that details new phones and their release date?  If yes, how do we sign up?
David: You can sign up to learn more on our pre-registration sites and sprint.com (check at the bottom or www.sprint.com/moment).
tlevelle: Generally speaking, how much of your lineup is based on industry/management decisions rather than customer demand? Clearly, there's a phone that's creating a lot of buzz that Sprint seems to be ignoring so far.
David: Lot's of factors go into device selection and development.  At the heart of our decisions are customers needs.
bless_you: Any Wimax phones coming soon?
David: Definitely in the 2010 plan.
sasquatch537: I am in the market for a phone upgrade but read about the Droid coming out from one of your competitors which has a bigger screen 3.7 and flash for the camera do you have any phones that match that
David: Yes we do.
David: The Samsung moment has a 3.1 screen but with new technology called amoled for crisper display. Also includes flash and a full qwerty and I would put up against the Droid anyday. Also, per earlier messages you will pay signifantly more each month with Verizon. The savings range but would be more that $500 over a contract is my guess. Make sure you factor in total cost of ownership as you make your decisions.
clockcycle: Will SERO customers be able to upgrade to HTC Hero, Samsung Moment, etc, without changing their plans?
David: No.  Android, webOS, and Instinct require Everything type plans.
gee23: is nextel coming out with anymore blackberry's like the curve
David: We can't cover the roadmap for any of our devices specifically but will continue to build out a robust line-up for Nextel.
andy: Do the Sprint executives look at the community forums to see what their customers really want?
David: Sure.  Objective is to meet needs of customers and community feedback is critical.
AdamJaworski: Will the Android updates to 1.6 and 2.0 be over the air, or will I have to go into a store for the update?
David: Likely to be a wired update (due to size) but you will be able to do online at sprint.com.
trdfjboys: Why does Sprint require certain plans with certain phones?
David: For our data intensive phones, we thinks it's critical to have plans that support all of the phone's capabilities.
vic: Applie is really popular, but I am loyal to Sprint. I wish sprint had more appliations that can be used with what people do daily. Example I play golf, I wish I could download the GPs for course like Apple allows. Will sprint be getting more applications that people actually want?
David: Buy a Android product (Samsung Moment or HTC hero) and you will have access to over 10K applications in the android market.
buddy: how does the pixie compare ot other devices?
David: pretty comparable to Pre with all of the benefits of webOS in a really trim and affordable package.
Sarah: We've got about 7 minutes left.
JamieLynn: What is the Samsung Moment?
David: A new device that runs on the Android operating system.  It launches in all channels on November 1st.
David_1: What can a customer do to convince Sprint into releaseing a particular smartphone?
David: Submit feedback.  We make decisions based upon a number of factors, but customer input is critical.
Darius: For touchscreen phones, do you see Sprint going more with capacitive than resistive screens ?
David: Capacitive seems to be hot, but some needs for resistive and stylus use.
boe: Thanks for the reply about beta testing - I would suggest you do beta testing with the community at the same time so that it doesn't change your release schedule and perhaps could reduce it as issues are discovered sooner. You'll see a hundred posts about issues on the first day of release on ppcgeeks.com and pdaphonehome.com that should have been caught by the existing beta testing group but aren't. If clients felt more confident about the business phones working properly you could probably increase your market share.
David: We'll consider it.  Thanks.
AdamJaworski: Will Sprint be getting the iPhone next Spring?
David: We don't discuss our roadmap but have great products to compete with the iphone. Also, you pay a huge tax to own the iphone. If you compare like unlimited plans, with Sprint you save $1200 over two years.
nz3i: Will the Samsung Moment launch on November 1, and where will it be available?
David: yes, all participating sprint channels.
Marion: Will there be more phone where you don't have to purchase a data or simply everything plan. Most of the new phones requiore this and I do not wish to change my plan
David: Actually, only 5 current phones have the requirement.  We do it on data intensive phones.
msk: Why do all new smartphones, like the Pre and Hero require a customer to get a new Everything plan? I like my plan and I don’t want to change plans. If I’m forced to change plans with Sprint, I’m certainly going to look first at other carriers and their available phones. This may be a reason why so many sprint customers are leaving Sprint for ATT and Verizon. Remember they have the iphone and Android too…
David: We require a data plan because we want you to use the phone for all its services. ATT and Verizon have similar requirements they just charge you a TON more.
David: Also, it is about the customer experience. We don't want you to get an overage charge because of data usage and be shocked and frustrated. Requiring the plans make sure you have a great experience. We saw some of our highest Csat on the instinct product because of this requirement.
ajaxxx: i'm torn between the htc hero and samsung moment. can you offer any insight to help my decision?
David: Sexy UI, customization, and 5MP camera...Hero.  Full QWERTY and great display...Moment.
pnutku: Any new colors for the htc hero soon?
David: No
Mashie: Can you comment on your current and future Windows Mobile strategy?
David: WinMo 6.5 and 7.0 as soon as possible, but dependent on Microsoft.  It's an important platform for us.
hawaiijoe: Please compare the new devices with the iphone and the new droid phone from verizon...how is sprint going to compete?
David: We complete very well. All have advantages but for example iphone had a huge advantage with their applications, that got neutralized with the Android products and the launch of Android market. Come to our store and we can show you the value we provide.
OH: will you be releasing a device in the near future that will be a more cohesive blend of the best features from the hero and moment? Fast processor, bigger screen, flash and 5mp camera with editing functions. Smooth features and latest android software among other things?
David: Sure.  Keep in mind that these devices have been in market for less than a month.  Androd is an important platform.
Pnyce973NJ: Verizon plans to release an Android with a Buit in MIFI? Is that something we can also expect from sprint?
David: A feature we are considering for future devices.
pnutku: Will the release of 2.0 be over the air or will we have to go to a sprint store for the update?
David: it will be a wired update but can be done via sprint.com
David: I am out of time but want to thank all of you for the questions and appreciate and value your feedback. We will do this again soon.
Sarah: Thank all of you for joining. I'll post the transcript shortly.