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Sprint Challenges iPhone 3G With $129 Instinct

 

Overland Park (KS) - We have criticized the way the Samsung Instinct was marketed before, but it appears that the smartphone could have a shot against Apple’s new iPhone 3G, at least if it turns out that purchase price of such a phone is more important than the look-at-me factor. Over a two-year period, the difference in cost between the Instinct and the iPhone is negligible.

The Samsung Instinct is the first serious attempt of Samsung to challenge the iPhone with a device that has a similar look, is comparable in size and offers a handful of features the iPhone cannot provide. However, this morning Sprint made it clear that it plans to go against the Apple-AT&T iPhone with a campaign that focuses on price. Compared to the $199 iPhone, the Instinct will cost just $129.99. Well, sorta.

On a closer look, the Instinct is offered with an annoying $100 mail-in-rebate, which means that the phone is actually $30 more expensive than the iPhone at the time of purchase. Count in sales tax (we assume 7% here) and activation fees and you will leave the AT&T store with an iPhone for about $251 and a Sprint store with an instinct for about $281.

Sprint also requires you to sign a 2-year service agreement. The cost is identical with AT&T’s plans. Data plans with 450 voice minutes begin at $70 per month. A plan that can be shared between two phones and offers 1500 minutes is priced at $129.99 per month. The data/voice flat fee plan (including GPS) for $99.99 is also offered for the Instinct.

The Instinct is Sprint’s first EV-DO Rev A consumer-centric smartphone. Features include GPS-enabled audio and visual turn-by-turn driving directions and one-click traffic rerouting as well as Microsoft Live Search access. Also part of the phone are Visual Voicemail, support for POP3 and IMAP email. On the hardware side, the phone comes with a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth as well as 2 GB storage space (through an included 2GB microSD card). Samsung promises that two standard 1000 mAh batteries offer up to 5.75 hours of continuous talk time each.

The Instinct will be available starting June 20.