Should high-end smartphones like the Epic 4G come with Sprint ID?

Taylor Martin
 from  Concord, NC
| March 18, 2011

After six months of little to no word from Samsung, Epic 4G owners are finally going to get their piece of the Froyo pie. The update was first attempted last month but was pulled due to some connectivity and microSD card issues. Round two for the Epic and updates for the Galaxy Tab and Transform are expected to begin on Monday. Everything sounds just peachy, right?

Well, word of this update also came with its own little tidbit of unpleasant information. After the updates are complete, these three devices will have Sprint ID in tow. What exactly is Sprint ID? Sprint's synopsis of ID is:

"Make your phone a reflection of who you are. Sprint ID lets you cut through the clutter by selecting mobile ID Packs featuring apps, ringers, wallpapers, widgets and more. It’s all about you and the things you love to do."

Originally, when I had first researched Sprint ID, several sites were reporting that Sprint ID is a custom UI made by Sprint. This would mean that devices with custom UIs like Samsung's TouchWiz would be removed from their devices if they are updated with Sprint ID. However, thanks to our faithful readers this is not the case.

Through all of the different explanations, Sprint ID isn't described in very much detail and is referred to as an "experience" more than anything. In short, it is a proprietary theming system from Sprint that also allows you to download entire packages of related applications, wallpapers, ringtones, etc. from Sprint's own app store. For instance, if you download the MTV packet, you will get MTV News, MTV Music Meter, Rhapsody, Pandora, SoundHound, and more. There many different IDs available and you can have up to five installed at a time. For more information on Sprint ID, you can visit Sprint's website here.

I can certainly see the need for something like this for first-time smartphone buyers or for those not interested in diving deep into Android. Typically, these users are not going to be interested in having the best of the best and will likely be attracted to the lower subsidized prices of the Zio, Optimus S, or Intercept. These newcomers are likely to be lost in their first few months on a smartphone platform and they may need a little help along the way. In this instance, Sprint ID isn't necessarily a bad thing and can be quite helpful.

On the other hand, Sprint ID is a leap back for high-end devices like the Epic 4G, EVO, or EVO Shift. They tend to attract the attention of experienced users and fanatics and to these users, Sprint ID will feel more like feature phone material. Most of the applications available in Sprint ID are the same applications from Android Market, so it is a bit redundant for someone who already knows their way around. That said, not all users of high-end devices are going to be experts. From what I've been told, ID has been left as an optional feature. You don't have to use it and your custom UI is still there, but you can activate the feature if you so desire.

I personally haven't spent any hands-on time with Sprint ID, but I don't necessarily like what I see. ID is a way for Sprint to set their phones apart from other carriers, but their phones come with enough bloatware as it is with Sprint TV, Nascar, NFL Mobile, and several other applications that you cannot remove. Bloatware is getting out of hand. What do you think of Sprint ID? Should it be left off of high-end devices and/or offered an optional feature?