updated 07:25 am EDT, Mon March 15, 2010
Pantech Link, Pursuit and Samsung Strive, Sunburst
AT&T this morning led into CTIA by launching its now annual update of messaging phones. At the top of the range, the Samsung Starburst (shown above) is one of the company's least expensive touchscreen-only phones and also includes GPS for navigation. Some details aren't known, but the phone will use Samsung's TouchWiz interface and should ship on March 21st for just $40 on a two-year contract after a $50 rebate.
A companion Samsung phone, the Strive, is a vertical QWERTY slider with a 2-megapixel camera and a purple color option in addition to the usual black. It will cost even less at $20 after both a contract and $50 rebate, and should ship at the same time as the Starburst.
Pantech also joins the lineup with two phones, the Link and Pursuit. The former is an "ultra thin" fixed QWERTY candybar; the Pursuit is a touchscreen with a vertical QWERTY slider and represents Pantech's first touch phone. Both devices are being unveiled early and don't have most details or images. The Link is due within the next several weeks, while the Pursuit isn't due to ship until the summer.
All four devices will have access to a handful of new AT&T-specific features designed to bridge the gap between these mid-tier devices and smartphones. Subscribers can now sync an address book online, regardless of the phone, and import information from their own e-mail accounts. SMS and MMS messaging have also been given a lift with a deliberately iPhone-like "next-gen" app that shows photos and links to videos in-line as chat bubbles.
A new media sync service, Mobile Share, gives users the option of sharing photos and videos up to 10MB in size. Aside from serving as a form of backup with 250MB of space, phone owners can tap into their media library from any Internet connection. The service isn't free but has a range of prices depending on habits, ranging from 35 cents per upload to $10 for a block of 50 transfers; paying $15 per month adds an extra 10GB of space for very frequent uploaders.
AT&T Media Share and Next-Gen Messaging