Samsung Intercept Adds To Sprint's Android Lineup

The latest Android smartphone for Sprint takes shape in the Samsung Intercept, a sideways slider with touch screen and full QWERTY keyboard.
At first glance, the Samsung Intercept would appear to be a follow-up device to the well-spec'd Moment released with Sprint last fall. Don't be fooled. The Intercept takes a big step back as far as features go, and should be considered as an entry-level Android phone. Here's why.

The Intercept has a decent list of features that will appeal to most basic users. It has a 3.2-inch touch display; 3.2-megapixel camera with video capture; full slide-out QWERTY keyboard for easier message composition; and Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and an accelerometer. It will run Android 2.1 when it becomes available for sale July 11, and it has an attractive price point of just $99 (after mail-in rebate). Not bad so far, right?

The Intercept also has an optical mouse on the front for on-screen navigation. I happen to like the way optical mice work on phones, though it is a bit of a superfluous feature on a touch phone. Still, it's there to use, and can help with editing text on screen.

There's one big puzzler, however, that I can't figure out: The Intercept had an EVDO Rev. 0 3G radio in it. Rev. 0 is a slightly older version of EVDO. Most of Sprint's 3G line-up -- including feature phones -- have been shipping with Rev. A 3G radios inside for several years now. Why the backward step? Is it only to control costs? Rev. A is faster than Rev. 0, especially when it comes to uploads.

If there's one thing I expect users of Android handsets to do, it is to upload stuff. The Intercept comes packed with social networking features, such as Facebook, Flickr, and Twitter. Rev. 0 doesn't dial things back to dial-up speeds, but it's noticeably slower than Rev. A.

By stuffing the Intercept with an older, slower 3G radio, Samsung and Sprint have hindered the very features that Sprint and Samsung call out as appealing.

Just thought that was worth pointing out. If you don't care about upload speeds, by all means feel free to snag yourself the Samsung Intercept.

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