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We’re live at CTIA at Sprint’s press conference to get briefed on the latest from the carrier. Introducing the new service is a video about consumers complaining about how difficult it is to find apps and change settings on the phone.
Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse walks out on stage to tell us exactly how it intends to solve this problem: *Sprint* ID. The ID project allows users to have multiple profiles, like one for work and one for play. Content partners include Disney (NYSE: DIS), MTV, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) and eBay (NSDQ: EBAY). Sprint (NYSE: S) is starting off with three handsets, but Hesse said: “We hope that all Sprint devices and tablets will be Sprint ID-enabled.”
The Sprint ID pack is a little confusing, but it looks like a overlay on top of the Android handset that offers “packs” of packaged information. Comcast is making one with content from E!, and Disney is designing one around ESPN content. There’s several more partners, including LatCel, which will include Hispanic-focused content. Consumers can also make their own packs that are designed around aspects of their own life, like a small business. Each user can have up to five on the handset.
Execs from all the content companies joined the press conference via video to convince us that Sprint ID packs will help consumers discover applications. We’ll get a hands-on demonstration shortly, but at this point, it sounds like another software layer on top of the Android software, much like handset makers and other carriers are creating today. Sprint’s now joining fragmentation party.
At one point in the press conference, Hesse compared the Sprint ID program to the old MVNO model, a scary thought. He argued that brands and content companies can now create tailored experiences for users without all the upfront costs of running your own cellular network and developing your own handsets.
The three phones being unveiled today that will have Sprint ID are the Samsung Transform ($149), Sanyo Zio ($99) and the *LG* Optimus ($49).