Samsung takes another pass at the Instinct

As CTIA opens, Sprint and Samsung introduce an update to the Instinct that offers minimal feature and design upgrades.

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You can usually rely on Samsung to drop a load of new phones every trade show, and CTIA 2009 is no exception. After announcing several new phones for AT&T and a WiMax-enabled device, Samsung on Tuesday evening unveiled a successor to the Samsung Instinct. The Instinct S30, which comes almost a year to the day after its predecessor, offers minimal feature and design upgrades. Be sure to check out our Samsung Instinct S3 photo gallery.

As you might expect, the Instinct S30 is all about the touch screen. The 3.2-inch display supports 262,000 colors and 432x240-pixel resolution. You'll recognize it from the original Instinct, along with the menu interface and virtual keyboard. Below the display are three touch controls for navigation while a camera lens sits on the rear face. The candy bar shape has a few more curves than its older sibling, and it's just the tiniest bit thinner, but it's about the same otherwise.

The new Instinct looks much like its predecessor. Samsung

Features include a 2-megapixel camera with video recording, voice commands and dialing, a full HTML browser, stereo Bluetooth, PC syncing, a personal organizer, a music player, a 600-contact phone book, GPS with Sprint Navigation, support for Sprint's Visual Voicemail, and a speakerphone. The S30 is compatible with Sprint's EV-DO Rev. 0 network, which means you'll get Sprint Power Vision content, the Sprint Music store, and Sprint TV. While 3G is great, we're miffed that the S3 isn't also EV-DO Rev. A like its predecessor.

Inside, the S30 offers instant messaging and Outlook calendar syncing out of the box. That means you won't have to add them later via an upgrade. The e-mail should be about the same, though we wouldn't mind seeing an interface upgrade or two. You'll be able to get POP3 and IMAP4 e-mail directly on the device.

Samsung also is promising that the S30 will be more open to developers, who will be able to access the core Java application programming interface. Available features will include messaging, multimedia, contacts, calendar, and Bluetooth. As part of the program, Sprint is creating an Application Developer Program.

The S30, aka the SPH-M810, will be available April 19 for $129 with a two-year contract. Like with the Instinct, you must choose a Sprint "Simply Everything" data plan, which start at $69 per month.

Update: The $99 Simply Everything plan includes unlimited voice, data and messaging, but it is not required for the Instinct S3. The lowest Simply Everything plan, which is $69 per month, includes unlimited data and messaging, but 450 anytime minutes.