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1/12/2011
03:25 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Sprint Drops Tab Price Ahead Of Press Conference

Sprint has dropped the price of its Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet while promising another "industry first" at a press conference scheduled for February 7.

Sprint recently lowered the price tag of the Samsung Galaxy Tab Android tablet by a C-note. Those interested in the tablet can now purchase it for $299 on contract or $499 at full retail. Each of those prices is $100 less than it used to be.

The Tab has a 7-inch display, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, dual cameras, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and it runs Android 2.2 Froyo (not tablet-optimized 3.0 Honeycomb). It has been on sale in the U.S. for about two months now, and Sprint's competitors -- notably T-Mobile -- have already adjusted the pricing of the Tab downward. The price reduction could be a normal part of the Tab's life cycle, but the timing is slightly suspicious.

Sprint today sent out invitations to the media for a press event it is holding on February 7. The invitation's headline reads "Making the Impossible, Possible -- See what Sprint has Up Its Sleeve."

The event pitches illusionist David Blaine as the evening's entertainment, which will showcase "Sprint's continued innovation in the wireless industry and yet another industry first." What could that mean? Let's look at Sprint's past "firsts."

The HTC EVO 4G was the first WiMax 4G phone for Sprint. It launched last summer. By summer's end, Sprint launched the Samsung Epic 4G -- the first 4G phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard. Looking back further, Sprint says its WiMax network was the first 4G network in the U.S.

So, what first could Sprint be introducing this time around? Here are my first inclinations:

1. First WiMax-Equipped Samsung Galaxy Tab. This one is a no brainer and makes the most sense given that Sprint just discounted the price of the original Tab. Technically, however, this wouldn't be the first WiMax-powered tablet. Samsung's own Mondi was one of the first WiMax devices launched several years ago.

2. First CDMA Windows Phone 7 Device. Sprint and Verizon Wireless have yet to launch handsets with Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 platform. Microsoft has hinted that we can expect CDMA WP7 devices "soon" and a Sprint-branded WP7 phone appeared at CES recently.

3. First WiMax 4G Windows Phone 7 Device. Jumping into the Windows Phone 7 fray with WiMax on board would make a much bigger impression than launching the first CDMA WP7 device. At this point, Sprint has nothing to lose, and it may as go all-out with its 4G device portfolio.

4. First Device to Ship with Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Gingerbread is still barely a blip on the Android radar. Android 2.3 is still only available to the Samsung Nexus S, which isn't being distributed through U.S. wireless network operators. Perhaps Sprint will be the first carrier to offer an Android smartphone with Android 2.3 Gingerbread on board.

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