A few weeks I got an email from Sprint mobile saying I had been invited as a Sprint Ambassador. I had no idea what that was. They found me through this blog. Why my sports blog out of the thousands out there? I don't know. This was the description of the program.
The Sprint Ambassador Program is all about exploring our latest products and services and allows you to give direct feedback to Sprint. We recently launched Sprint NFL Mobile content and want to provide you with the full experience, at no charge. Sprint NFL Mobile enables you to track your players, earn bragging rights, and become a fantasy football fiend.
So what's the deal?
As a qualified participant, we will send you one Sprint Power Vision (mobile broadband) phone and provide you with 6 months of all-access service (at no charge). In addition to NFL Mobile, you'll have access to the Sprint Music Store, live TV broadcasts, gaming, and more. Yes, you will also have unlimited free calling and data service. It's a pretty good deal and all we ask for in return is your candid feedback (you decide how much and how often).
Sounds too good to be true right? Of course. I'm one that is always careful about e-mail saying I've won a prize, need help transfering $5 million, or updating my Ebay account. This time I followed the link and looked around. It seemed legitimate. All they wanted was just my mailing address. No credit card. No social security number. So I replied and I they would let me know if I was offically accepted.
A couple days later I get an email to officially invite me into the program! I would be receiving my phone in 2-4 weeks. I've never gotten anything this cool for free so this was the jackpot for me. I still wasn't going to believe it until I saw the phone. That came just a few days later.
Free Stuff is Great!
I have never downloaded so many games, ringtones and themes in my life. Sprint made it clear that I would not be receiving a bill. If I did, it'd look like a 15 year old's cellphone bill. All content. All free. Wish that happened to more of my bills.
Impression of Sprint TV
I have T-mobile and they are so behind on offering on-demand video. So I eagerly wanted to try Sprint TV. Going to the channel lineup there is something for everyone. Fashion, news, weather, sports, cartoons, Sirius music, and even movies. Yes Sprint is the first carrier to allow you to watch a movie on your phone. Of course I tried it, and while it's a nice feature, I could not imagine watching a 2 hr movie on a tiny screen and paying $5.99!
The television quality is pretty impressive. Sprint has a EDVO network, which basically means high speed internet access. That allows video to be loaded quickly and improves the picture quality. The sound is okay when you're in a quiet environment but anywhere in public and you're going to need the headphones.
The only bad thing is that all these channels require a monthly subscription. They're between $4-$6. I can see myself having a few of these channels regularly but if adding channels can get real expensive quickly. The lineup is extensive so it can be tempting. Luckily, it's all free for me.
If you've seen the funny commericals with Peyton Manning and his Groucho Marx moustache pitching Sprint mobile, you'll know that they are a major sponsor of the NFL this season. So they've added content to their phone to make football fans happy.
They have a scoreboard feature that shows you all games on one page. It's automatically updated every 30 seconds it seems but that's too slow me for. I wish there was a way I could manually update it cause I can't wait that long. A nice feature is that when one team's in the red zone, their game will turn red. Then you can click on the game to see what the hell is going on.
Clicking on a game gets you to the game center, which will you tell you who has the ball, where it is, and the most recent play. From there it has a field chart, which shows how the current drive is doing (just like at NFL.com) but screen size makes it hard to read and doesn't show the most recent play on that screen. So I don't use it much. Again I wish I could update the game center screen much quicker.
Tracking fantasy football
I know one of the reasons anyone cares about scores on Sunday is to know how their fantasy team is doing. Sprint has a program that make that very easy. I'm in a league with friends run by CBS Sportsline. Luckily for me they have a program just for that league (no apps for espn or yahoo leagues). Once I'm logged in I can change my lineup, the league scoreboard, add/drop players, and just about anything you can do on the regular site. It's updated very quickly so stats are up to the minute. When I'm out on Sunday's this phone comes with me mainly for this feature.
NFL Network Live
Yes they have the NFL Network on this phone and it's live. I don't know how far behind it is from regular TV because I don't have it. But those I know who do have on sat/cable say they love it. On the small screen it's a channel I would subscribe to monthly. Last Wednesday, I turned to the NFL Network to keep up with the T.O. death watch. After games on Sunday I can see highlights from the day's games. In the example footage above, it was taken before the games. Ironically, it's probably the last time you'll ever seen Kurt Warner being interviewed as a starter and in general. Again, video quality not bad. Sound pretty good. NFL on my cellphone is great.
So what I do have to do for all this? Just give them as little or as much feedback I want about the service. I assume mainly the NFL features since they targeted sports blogs for this phase of the program. Plus I'm sure they wanted to me write a post about it, which I'm more happy to do, in exchange. If you Google "Sprint Ambassador" you'll see many write ups about the programs and that's because they targeted tech blogs earlier this year. Now they're moving to sports.
Overall the service is great. I wouldn't go too crazy if I had to pay on all the ringtones, backgrounds, and themes. Plus I'd be selective about the channels I subscribe to. But I'd make sure I had the NFL features I mentioned on this phone, otherwise it'd just be another boring phone.
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