Sprint is hedging a bet that FM radio isn't dead. Today, the Now Network revealed that certain Android and Windows Phone devices will debut this year with support for terrestrial radio stations. The move is a differentiator for Sprint, which is the first US carrier to make such an initiative. As it stands, we're told to expect these smartphones to include the NextRadio tuner app.
Not to stop there, Sprint has also revealed an application bundle known as Entertain Me, which will be located in the Sprint Zone on Android devices. Here, users can access Sprint TV and Movies, Sprint Music Plus, Spotify, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Shazam and Rumpus. It's currently unclear whether each of these apps will come pre-installed, or whether we'll find the ability to download the titles individually. Naturally, we're hopeful for the latter -- no matter how good an app is, it's always nice to have a choice. More details follow after the break.
Sprint customers to enjoy local FM radio on smartphones via FM radio chip
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 08, 2013 - Sprint (NYSE:S) today announced a preliminary arrangement with representatives of the American radio industry that will enable Sprint customers to listen to local FM radio stations from a broad spectrum of radio companies and aggregators on select Android and Windows smartphones during the next three years. FM radio could be delivered through the NextRadio tuner application or other radio apps or services.
This announcement marks the first time a U.S. wireless carrier would offer the ability to access local FM radio on a broad array of its devices. Consumers today can listen to radio on smartphones by streaming over the Internet. As part of this plan, Sprint customers could use their smartphones and the NextRadio tuner to listen to local FM radio stations.
With the NextRadio tuner – expected to be available later in 2013 – Sprint customers would enjoy a wide range of interactive listener features not available today and would have the availability of local FM radio at their fingertips to access all forms of broadcast information. Demonstrations of NextRadio will be offered at booth 9033 in the Central hall during CES.
Fared Adib, senior vice president, product development and operations at Sprint, stated, "We look forward to bringing Sprint customers another entertainment choice through NextRadio. This new, easy-to-use service adds another dimension to the versatility of our wide array of smartphones and will deliver a new avenue for thousands of local radio stations across the country to reach our customers."
Gordon Smith, president of the National Association of Broadcasters, said, "This opportunity combines the strengths of the Sprint network with the impact of America's radio stations. It is the type of business-to-business partnership that recognizes the unique strengths of the wireless networks and the radio industry and provides services that are so important to the American people."
Bob Pittman, CEO of Clear Channel, noted, "This is a great development for the radio industry, one which will help us bring the content and services that only radio can provide to the wireless system. It's an important benefit for consumers across America, and we are pleased to participate in this effort."
Jeff Smulyan, CEO of Emmis Communications, who acted as principal negotiator for the radio industry, added, "Today is a remarkable day for our industry. I am gratified by the unity I have seen in our industry. It seems every broadcaster I know has supported this effort, and I am grateful to the tireless efforts of industry leaders, from the largest companies to the owners of the smallest stations ... all of whom have helped us reach this agreement. While there is much work to be done, today is a critical first step."
Sprint Customers Access Top Entertainment Services Through Entertain ME
Intuitive Entertain ME includes Sprint TV & Movies, Sprint Music Plus, Spotify, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Shazam and Rumpus
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), January 08, 2013 - Sprint (NYSE:S) announced today the launch of Entertain ME, a service within the Sprint Zone application that provides customers using select Android™-powered smartphones a single place to discover, purchase, listen to and personalize their entertainment experience for both music and mobile TV. Entertain ME features Sprint TV & Movies and Sprint Music Plus and mobile entertainment leaders Spotify, Slacker, iHeartRadio, Shazam and Rumpus.
"Entertain ME makes it easy for customers to search for, listen to and watch what they want, and Sprint's unlimited data plans mean customers don't have to worry about surprises on their monthly bill from data overage charges like they might with shared data plans from AT&T or Verizon," said Fared Adib, senior vice president, product development and operations at Sprint. "Entertain ME also delivers a great discovery mechanism for the third-party services we feature there."
"We are delighted to be a part of Sprint's Entertain ME service," said Brian LaKamp, president of digital media for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. "We're committed to being everywhere our listeners want us to be, and Sprint's service makes it even easier for users to discover and download iHeartRadio."
"Shazam is excited to be a part of the launch of Entertain ME with Sprint, giving its customers access to the industry's fastest tagging and best media engagement for music and television," said David Jones, executive vice president of marketing, Shazam.
Sprint services enhance customer experience
The popularity of apps and the time spent using them is rapidly increasing – the average number of apps on U.S. consumers' devices increased 28 percent last year, from 32 apps in 2011 to 41 in 2012.*
"Now more than ever, it's important to offer our customers helpful ways to make the most of their smartphones and the apps and services it can offer," said Adib. "Entertain ME is another in a line of Sprint services incorporated into smartphones, such as Sprint Zone and Sprint ID, that brings Sprint customers tools to easily personalize and enhance their mobile experience."
Sprint Zone on Android-powered smartphones and iPhones delivers customers easy access to information about their Sprint account, Sprint Guardian safety and security apps (for Android users), tips and tricks for their particular device and more.
Sprint ID, available on more than 22 Sprint Android-powered devices, allows customers to instantly download a package of applications, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers with contents to fit their lifestyle and interests. ID packs may have a theme or be brand-specific, including ESPN, MTV, CMT, Disney Channel, E! and OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network).
Entertain ME facts
Located within Sprint Zone on Sprint Android devices, Entertain ME provides search, online and offline playback for music and access to live and video-on-demand content via Sprint TV & Movies. The service will continue to evolve with more content. Entertain ME includes:
Sprint TV & Movies: More than 15 channels of live breaking news and daytime, primetime and kids' entertainment, including full episodes of popular primetime TV shows and live sports from ESPN, including the NBA, MLB, college football and basketball. Customers can access Sprint TV & Movies using the unlimited data included with Sprint Everything data plans. Sprint TV & Movies is powered by MobiTV.
Sprint Music Plus: The official Sprint Music Store for music tracks and full album downloads, ringtones, and ringback tones. Millions of DRM-free music tracks and tones from all major artists updated daily. LiveWire Mobile is the service provider for Sprint Music Plus.
Spotify: On-demand unlimited music for premium users and customized radio for free and premium users, Spotify provides access to approximately 20 million songs by searching for artists, albums, titles, labels and genres, and gives users access to tracks from many major and independent labels.
Slacker: Offers millions of songs, hundreds of expert-programmed stations, and news, sports and talk from ABC and ESPN. Listen to free service or subscribe to enjoy deep customization, offline listening and on-demand access to millions of songs and albums.
iHeartRadio: An all-in-one, free digital service that offers access to more than 1,500 live broadcast and digital-only stations from more than 150 cities, plus user-created Custom Stations inspired by favorite artists and songs. Coming soon to Android phones, iHeartRadio will launch its "Perfect For" feature, allowing listeners to browse through a menu of moods and activities perfect for a particular day and time.
Shazam: Discover, explore and share music and TV. For music, identify songs in as little as one second, preview or buy the track, and get streaming lyrics, YouTube videos and more. With TV shows, use Shazam anytime for music, celebrity buzz, trivia and more.
Rumpus: Music discovery service allows customers to navigate through the millions of tracks available, find new artists, learn what has influenced their favorite bands and singers or simply find new tunes they love and create new playlists. Rumpus was developed by Sprint Music Plus service provider Livewire Mobile.
Everything Data plans
Everything Data plans start at just $79.99 per month (taxes and fees excluded) with Truly Unlimited data, text and calling to any mobile all while on the Sprint network.
Sprint is continuing its history of data leadership by making it easy for its customers to use data in all the ways that are useful to them, such as music, TV, news, email and GPS navigation, without worrying about data overages on their monthly bill.