Finally, after almost a year, there is a competitor to the Apple iPhone hitting the market here in the US, the Samsung Instinct M800. The touchscreen phone will be sold through Sprint for $129 with, of course, the obligatory 2 year contract. The low price tag shows the increasing competitiveness in the high end cell phone market that may mean good news for consumers although there may reasons for concern. Should you buy a Sprint Samsung Instinct or take a wait and see approach?
article continued below…
The biggest downside of the low prices upfront is that vendors, like Sprint, will need to subsidize devices like the Samsung Instinct. This means that they’ll have to make their money back some how, either through higher monthly rates after a brief ‘honeymoon’ period or they’ll have to introduce new products that current ‘early adopter’ owners will have to pay a substantial fee to acquire.
The upside with the Sprint Samsung Instinct is that you won’t be nickled and dimed with fees for music. The Samsung Instinct will play standard MP3 files just fine so there is no need for an overpriced download service that’s required for some phones. Hopefully this indicates a new trend among cell phone service providers.
You can expect to pay at least $70 a month for a Sprint Samsung Instinct plan on top of the $129 for the phone itself. Given Sprint’s customer service, or lack thereof, you would almost have to pay me $70 a month for me to use them as my carrier. This price isn’t too bad for an unlimited data plan considering how much the price has come down since last year where expensive per minute charges were the industry standard.
As for the Samsung Instinct M800 itself, it strikes me as a device suffering from what some of us in the software industry call “creeping feature-itis”. This happens when project managers try to shoehorn every bit of functionality into a product to its detriment. From what I understand, there are features of the Samsung Instinct that work well, like the GPS interface, and others that are quirky or don’t work very well, like the keyboard and web interfaces. I guess we’ll have to hear unbiased reports from the early adopters to see how well the Samsung Instinct works in the real world.