Sprint maintains lead as camera phone innovator with new application that creates online community for group picture sharing
ORLANDO, Fla. at PMA — 02/24/2006
Sprint (NYSE: S) will make it easier for customers to share personal media about a favorite hobby, passion or common interest with a select group of friends, family, colleagues or suppliers with the launch of Sprint PCS Picture Mail groups. Sprint PCS Picture Mail subscribers will be able to create an online community about any subject and invite friends with an email address or Sprint phone to add pictures, video clips and text of their own, whenever they want, at no additional cost. Community members can stay on top of the action with instant notification whenever new content gets posted.
Sprint PCS Picture Mail groups, launching in the spring, will be the first picture groups service designed with the mobile phone user in mind, making the sharing of pictures and video clips from a mobile phone to an online community a smooth, hassle-free process.
"As camera phones have become mainstream, wireless phone users are looking for new, creative ways to communicate with pictures," said Pierre Barbeau, general manager of visual communications for Sprint. "Sprint PCS Picture Mail Groups is the next innovation in the mobile imaging evolution, enabling customers to create a forum where they can communicate via pictures, video clips, text messages and audio clips while on the go."
The interest and usage of camera phones continues to grow. According to the Sprint U.S. Consumer Wireless Usage Study, 55 percent of wireless phone users have an interest in using a camera phone. Showing further evidence of the interest in camera phones, 53 percent of camera phone owners take pictures with their phone. The overwhelming majority of these "phone-tographers" (96 percent) use their camera phones for spontaneous pictures; nearly one-third take pictures at family gatherings (32 percent) or of their pets (30 percent), while more than one-quarter (27 percent) snap shots at celebrations or on vacation. Respondents also use their camera phone while shopping (18 percent), at concerts (15 percent) and for business purposes (15 percent).
Sprint is keeping ahead of the demand for mobile imaging applications and improved service by offering industry-leading innovations, including:
Picture messaging across carriers – In February 2004, Sprint was the first U.S. wireless carrier to offer picture messaging interoperability with another carrier, Bell Mobility in Canada. Today, Sprint is interoperable with all major U.S. carriers and three Canadian carriers, making it easier for customers to share their camera phone images with family and friends who have camera phones with other carriers. Millions of picture messages are sent and received between Sprint and other carriers every month.
Improved picture quality – Sprint was the first wireless carrier to offer a 1 megapixel camera phone in 2004 and a 2 megapixel camera phone in 2005, and continues to work with handset manufacturers and software developers to improve picture quality. Today, Sprint offers two 2 megapixel camera phones, and five 1 megapixel camera phones.
Easy printing – Sprint offers its customers more picture printing options than any other wireless provider, resulting in millions of pictures being printed at home, at more than 3,000 retail stores nationwide and by mail delivery. Most one and two megapixel camera phones from Sprint also have removable memory cards and PictBridge capabilities, giving consumers even more options to easily move images from camera phones to printers.
The Sprint Picture Store – Customers can share their favorite pictures with family and friends as gifts, such as mugs, mouse pads, postage stamps, magnets, prints and greeting cards. They simply upload digital pictures from their phone or PC and order directly from their Sprint PCS Picture Mail account for delivery to their home.
"Solutions like these are changing the way camera phones are used everyday," Barbeau said. "At first, camera phones were primarily looked at as a fun way to instantly send spontaneous pictures. While camera phones are still widely used this way, people are also using them when they plan to take pictures to stay connected with friends and family and for practical applications such as to comparison shop, for scrap booking, to keep a picture diary and to improve business productivity. Camera phone usage will continue to grow as Picture Mail is integrated with other consumer and business applications that will make sharing, managing, preserving, creating, and presenting more convenient and easier than ever."
Reporters attending the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) trade show can see a demonstration of Sprint PCS Picture Mail services at Sneak Peak on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the Orange County Convention Center, West Building and at Pep Com’s Digital Focus from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Walt Disney Dolphin Hotel, 1500 Epcot Resorts Blvd.
For more information on the Sprint U.S. Consumer Wireless Usage Study, go to sprint.com/mr. For more information on Sprint PCS Picture Mail, go to sprint.com/picturemail.
Sprint is a data services company in the content and media distribution business committed to delivering a seamless experience that gives customers the power to connect, share and access information instantly on a mobile phone. As wireless technology, consumer electronics and entertainment converge, Sprint is leading the industry through innovative applications, differentiated content and connectivity to consumers and businesses anywhere, anytime and always on. By using their mobile phone as a source for information, communications, personalization and entertainment, Sprint customers can realize the power of the "third screen".
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of communications services bringing mobility to consumer, business and government customers. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks offering industry leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and an award-winning and global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.