11:54 AM

Sprint And LG Unveil A Messaging Powerhouse Called 'Rumor'

The $80 QWERTY handset addresses voice, entertainment, and data needs -- including text messaging, IM, e-mail, and social networking.

Sprint and LG Electronics on Thursday unveiled an $80 mobile phone called Rumor, which features a full QWERTY keyboard and various messaging capabilities.

The Rumor by LG addresses voice, entertainment, and data needs -- including text messaging, IM, e-mail, and social networking.
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Rumor's QWERTY slide keyboard is intended for more convenient text, e-mail, and instant messaging. Sprint is offering several IM services on its Vision network, including AOL's AIM, Microsoft's MSN, and Yahoo, as well as access to popular social networking sites, such as Facebook and Xanga.

Subscribers can send and receive e-mail using Sprint's mobile e-mail service, which supports multiple accounts from various providers like Yahoo, AOL, Google Gmail, and Microsoft Live.

Additionally, Sprint will offer messaging options on the Rumor that go beyond text. Voice SMS, for example, will allow a subscriber record a voice message on the Rumor and send it to any mobile phone, e-mail address, or landline phone like a text message. With Sprint's text-to-landline service, subscribers can send a text message to a landline phone and it will be converted to a voice message.

"In 2006 over 18 billion text messages were sent on a monthly basis in the U.S., according to CTIA the Wireless Association. Text messaging has become a mainstream vehicle for communication," said Ehtisham Rabbani, VP of product strategy and marketing at LG, in a statement.

The phone's other features include a 1.3 megapixel camera and camcorder with a 2x digital zoom, Bluetooth, MP3 player, microSD card slot for expandable memory, and GPS navigation for turn-by-turn driving directions.

With an affordable price tag of $80 (after a $50 mail-in rebate and a two-year subscription to Sprint) and plenty of messaging options, Rumor is a good bargain for any professional consumer, also known as "prosumer." The phone will be available for purchase online at Sprint's Web site and at Best Buy later this month, and in Sprint retail stores in November.

Sprint earlier this week added the BlackBerry Pearl 8130 to its prosumer lineup. The thin cell phone-like BlackBerry Pearl will support the broadest range of Sprint Power Vision Services, such as music, live TV, and navigation, of any BlackBerry smartphone offered by Sprint.

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