Sprint answered AT&T's proposed purchase of T-Mobile March 21 by unveiling the Samsung Nexus S 4G smartphone and pledging to integrate Google Voice across all its phones.
The aggressive plans come in the wake of AT&T's $39 billion offer to acquire T-Mobile, a deal that, if consummated, would easily make Sprint the smallest wireless carrier in the U.S. and jeopardize its ability to compete, versus AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
Sprint plans to sell its Nexus S 4G for $199.99 with a two-year contract this spring from Sprint retailers and Best Buy stores in the United States.
Like the Nexus S, Sprint's Nexus S 4G is powered by a 1GHz Samsung chip and runs Android 2.3, the latest Gingerbread build for smartphones, which offers NFC (near-field communication) capabilities for short-range wireless communications between sensors.
Both devices offer a 4-inch contoured display (480 by 800 resolution), brightened by Samsung's Super AMOLED (active-matrix organic LED) touch-screen technology. The Nexus S 4G, like its predecessor, also sports a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera and front-facing VGA camera.
The Nexus 4G also offers the familiar complement of Google mobile services, including Android Market access, Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps with Navigation, Google Calendar, Voice Actions and YouTube. Both handsets offer 16GB of internal memory and a 1,500mAh battery.
Sprint also followed Google's approach with the original Nexus S by promising that Nexus S 4G owners will be among the first to enjoy Android software and Google mobile applications upgrades.
This is a big deal considering that carriers have been known to drag their feet on platform version upgrades. For example, Sprint will start rolling out Android 2.2 on its Samsung Epic 4G this week, some 10 months after Google unveiled Froyo at Google I/O last May.
Sprint's device offers minor differences in specs and the inclusion of a 4G radio, which should make the device much faster than the current 3G Nexus S available.
For example, the new device includes 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot capability, supporting up to six WiFi-enabled devices at once, compared with five for the T-Mobile Nexus S, which only handles 3G.
Sprint didn't stop with the Nexus S 4G. The company made it possible for users of all of its Sprint CMDA (Code Division Multiple Access) phones to use their current Sprint wireless phone numbers as their Google Voice numbers without having to port their numbers.
This means Sprint phone users won't incur porting charges and service disruptions. Google Voice is the company's phone-call-management application, allowing users to route calls to up to six different phones using one number; and receive transcribed voice mail messages, and read or listen to them online.
With this new partnership, calls from Gmail and text messages sent from Google.com/voice will display users' Sprint number. Google Voice users may also replace their Sprint numbers with their Google Voice numbers when placing calls or sending text messages from their Sprint handsets.