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8/29/2008
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Smartphone Apps For The Rest Of Us

Even if you use Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon -- or don't have an iPhone for your AT&T connection -- you can still get games, music, location-based services, and other mobile content on your phone. Here's how.

Sprint

Sprint delivers content to its users through its Power Vision services and online portal.

"When you talk about apps, games, content, and media, there is a tremendous capability at Sprint," said John Schuler, director of product platforms. "We deliver hundreds of thousands of downloads every day. When it comes to on-deck stuff, we build the robust landing portal for WAP pages where customers can get the latest things that they are specifically interested in. It is an incredibly stable, scalable, and accurate system that we've built in the past five years."

On most Sprint feature phones, there is an item in the main menu called "Get Stuff." This takes you to Sprint's main content catalog. This is where users can find games, ringers, screen savers, and other applications such as sports, weather, and entertainment services. Some are free, some require subscriptions, and some require one-time purchasing fees. The selection is wide and varied.

To date, Sprint admits that it has suffered a bit from the same visibility issue mentioned by AT&T. Schuler said, "Sprint is continuously educating its customer base, marketing, and handset partners to make sure everyone knows they can get content and where they can find it."

One of the things that Sprint does through a marketing perspective is to have a very thorough and robust featuring program and a plan related to showing off specific apps or destinations on its deck. These can be tied to relevant events, such as NFL games or NASCAR races, for example. "When you go into the handsets, we use that featuring capability to drive activity," said Scott Lane, director of business applications and business development at Sprint. "We're making greater investments to drive more content to users."

Sprint said the goal is not to sell applications, but to deliver content that is most relevant to its customers.

It also has a robust developer support strategy. "There are a whole number of business apps that are available to download, and we provide the open platform to provide that framework, and that open Internet model," said Lane. "We certify applications for smartphones such as BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile devices, meaning the apps will work on that hardware and it is set up specifically for working on the Sprint network. We try to certify as many apps as we can."

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