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Sprint Taps NQ Mobile for Android ID Refresh

Sprint is teaming up with NQ Mobile to give the Android personalization program it first began in 2010 a facelift, the carrier said on Wednesday.

Sprint ID was first introduced at CTIA in 2010, promising a new way to customize Android smartphones and surface apps in ways that are relevant to its customers' interests. Since its initial launch, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has introduced Sprint ID packs with ESPN, MTV, Disney, and E!, as well as for fitness and for deaf people, among others. (See CTIA 2010: Sprint Finds an ID, Sprint Announces Sprint ID, MTV Makes a Sprint ID, Sprint Adds E! ID Pack for Android, Sprint Offers App Pack for Deaf People, Sprint Launches Disney Jr Mobile App Pack, and Sprint Offers Fitness ID Pack.)

The ID packs were enough to wow our erstwhile Editor-in-Chief Phil Harvey, who pointed out at the time that they'd be useful to corporations that wanted to create a page just for their employees. (See Android Transformation.)

Mobile Internet services provider NQ Mobile will be managing production of the Sprint ID packs now in a bid to take it to the next level. The two companies said they have "signed a definitive agreement to collaborate and deliver the next generation of Sprint ID, powered by NQ Live, on all new Sprint Android-powered smartphones in the US market later this year."

NQ Live replaces the wallpaper on Android devices, constantly refreshing with new content tailored around the theme of the ID pack. The company says that, unlike the past IDs that statically showcased apps, widgets, ringtones, and wallpapers, the new versions, dubbed Sprint Live, will be more interactive and run in the background as part of the home screen.

Why this matters
Over five years after Android was first introduced, differentiating handsets from the bunch is still a challenge. Sprint's answer to the issue, IDs, was a good outlet for its partners that want prime real estate on the home screen, but hasn't seemed to wow customers. Turning the work over to NQ Mobile is probably a good call given its experience in interactive smartphone skins, which could make the home-screen makeover more appealing to customers -- and enable Sprint to focus on its network issues for the foreseeable future.

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

Sarah Thomas 1/15/2014 | 2:19:30 PM
the Samsung connection This news today sent NQ's stock up 12%. It's an interesting company. It has several former Samsung execs on board, and I noticed today its PR person is Samsung's former PR lead. Maybe that will help it have a better understanding of how Android works, so that Sprint Live is tightly integrated with the OS, rather than just floating about it disjointedly...
Sarah Thomas 1/15/2014 | 2:16:36 PM
bloatware? I'm fairly certain the Sprint ID packs are just an option. I think Sprint customers would have a big problem if they were forced upon them, especially since they are bound to include marketing messages and ads from the sponsor alongside the themed content.
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