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Some photos of the rumored Samsung "Instinct Mini" hit the Web today, and I figured instead of just regurgitating the Insinct Mini rumor you've probably read in four other places by now, I'd also give you a run-down of all of the Sprint-related rumors du jour.  Yeah, yeah, I'll show you the Instinct Mini pics, too. 

Instinct Mini
 
Sprintusers' user "phonetec" posted four photos allegedly taken by him/her (with a BlackBerry Curve, if you care).  Phonetec claims the new mini model runs the same user interface as the current Instinct, but is smaller and lighter in the hand.  Click on through to see all four photos.

Okay, now it's wild speculation time.  Sprint needs to make some major waves here, and CTIA in Las Vegas (April 1-3) is just the place to make a huge splash.  Those commercials where CEO Dan Hesse begs for your money, I mean speaks earnestly about how in tough times his company wants to provide extra value?  They came from the right place but haven't done much to help the flagging company's image.  Sprint has a great network and offers great value.  What they need now is a killer smartphone and a stable of solid Windows Mobile, messaging and multimedia phones to draw people back into the fold ... then they'll have to keep them there with solid customer service.  That last part has been Sprint's achilles heel as of late.

The killer smartphone?  Palm Pre.  Despite today's seemingly made up rumors of some guy at Palm saying something about a delay, I still thing we're going to get our official launch on April 1 with a ship date of May 1 or 15.  The only official timeframe we've EVER been given by Sprint or Palm is "First half of 2009," and there's nothing substantitive yet out there to indicate that Pre won't ship by the end of June as scheduled.  That said, Sprint and Palm are holding a webcast for media next week (March 12), so check back with me after that for a revised prediction.

Palm Pre

The Windows Mobile options?  HTC Touch Diamond2 and Touch Pro2. 
Look for both devices to launch in Sprint branding on April 1, as well.  Diamond2 should ship by the end of April followed by Pro2 sometime in May or early June.  HTC did some great work on both device's hardware and software, as they showed at MWC last month.  I'm particularly fond of the deeper integration of messaging and contacts in TouchFlo 3D.  Also, both phones are ready for WM 6.5 (which is a bigger deal than you might think).

HTC Touch Pro2

The multimedia phone?  Samsung Instinct Mini.  
I've never been a huge fan of Instinct, but plenty of Sprint users like it just fine, and Sprint and Samsung have steadily been stomping bugs and upgrading features since it launched at last year's CTIA show.  Vegas '09 would be the perfect venue to drop Mini2 on the public - preferably at a nice, low price point and with an updgraded Web browser.

Instinct Mini

The messaging phone?  LG Rumor 2.
  While I'm not exactly sure what to make of the superficial similarities between Rumor, Samsung Rant, and the photos I've seen of Rumor 2, messaging phones are still hot and tweens love their options.  While Rumor 2  might not make sense in Samsung's eyes, seeing how Rant was just launched in September, LG and Sprint are probably just fine with the idea of a Rumor successor being unveiled on April 1.

This thread on Sprintusers has some purported details (and the below image), including:

It is not EVDO, it still has a 1.3 megapixel camera.

It also has a higher resolution screen (320 x 240 pixel), it has an improved 4 line QWERTY keyboard with emoticon key.

It has Bluetooth stereo with max memory of 16 GB.

It also has changeable faceplates and threaded SMS .

It is sprint's texting phone, not multimedia. Having seen it, it looks much cooler than the Rant (which looks cheap IMO) with it's mirror finish.


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