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CTIA: Sprint's Samsung Touch

LAS VEGAS -- CTIA Wireless 2008 -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has bulked up its device portfolio and WiMax offerings at the annual CTIA Wireless show today but didn't make any announcements around a rumored but hotly anticipated tie-up with Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) and several leading cable companies.

What's causing the early buzz at the show is the firm's new Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Instinct touch-screen phone. The EV-DO Rev. A phone is a clear rival to AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T)'s iPhone, although one key difference is that the Instinct can offer downloads of 3 Mbit/s over the 3G CDMA network, as opposed to a few hundred kilobits per second for the iPhone. (See Spring Into Rev A .)

The Instinct is slated to be available in June.

As expected, Sprint is also one of the carriers to get on the Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) Windows Mobile 6.1 bandwagon. The operator says it will offer OS upgrades on phones from High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), and Samsung this summer. (See CTIA & the Invisible Handsets.)

Meanwhile, Sprint has bolstered its BlackBerry bushel with the BlackBerry Curve 8830. The phone will be available for $180 with a contract later this month.

While WiMax is also high on the agenda in Sin City, the news that many in the market were anticipating -- a partnership between Clearwire, Sprint, and cable backers -- hasn't materialized and remains merely a rumor at present. That could possibly change, as Sprint CTO Barry West is due to speak at the show tomorrow on the Xohm WiMax launch. The CTIA show provides a nice focal point for Xohm, which is expected to switch on commercial services in several cities this month. (See CES: Sprint's in the XOHM.)

Note, however, that Sprint-Clearwire rumors have been kicking around almost since the firms dissolved their initial union last year, and the company's new CEO, Dan Hesse, didn't mention a joint venture in his keynote Tuesday morning. (See WiMax Dumbocracy.)

Instead, Sprint has added a new Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) 810 Tablet to its WiMax lineup, along with a PC card from Samsung.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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