As I've said before, the low-end messaging market is still a viable player in the phone industry, and Pantech has done a fantastic job of focusing their efforts on making solid, reliable "QMDs" (Quick Messaging Devices). Sporting a full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2-inch touchscreen, and the usual array of AT&T services like AT&T Navigator and YP Mobile, the AT&T-powered Pantech Ease is a welcome contender to the market. Despite its appeal to the low-end market, the Ease's 7.2 Mbps HSDPA connectivity and speech to text prove that it's ready to work hard and play hard. The Ease will be availble in AT&T retail stores and online on June 20th for $69.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and two-year agreement.
The full press release is below. While it's not going to serve as a replacement to a smartphone, the Ease screams "great weekend phone" or "awesome phone for the texting teen" to me. Anyone feel the same?
For experienced mobile phone users, the ins and outs of wireless devices are second nature, but for some, ease-of-use is paramount. AT&T* today announced the Pantech Ease, the first quick messaging phone from AT&T with menus and features designed for users who seek simplicity in their wireless device. With a large and comfortable touchscreen, Ease will be available for new and existing AT&T customers online at www.wireless.att.com and in AT&T stores nationwide June 20.
Ease is the latest offering in AT&T’s focused initiative to deliver a streamlined mobile experience. The handset is also the first simplicity-centric phone to feature a full keypad and touchscreen to keep customers better connected with family and friends. With the original Pantech Breeze having launched in 2008, the Pantech Breeze II in May 2010 and now Ease, AT&T is committed to customers who want the latest technology in a convenient form.
“Ease emphasizes our commitment to meeting the needs of all AT&T customers,” said Jeff Bradley, senior vice president, Devices, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “The first quick messaging phone targeted for simplicity seekers, it fulfills our goal to create a highly functional device for everyone – from children to great-grandparents.”
Ease’s uncluttered design contributes to its straightforward user experience. Ease offers a bright 3.2” full touch screen display, a full keyboard, intuitive menus – all at an affordable price. And, while it is easy to use, Ease is not just a basic phone. The handset can also be switched from Easy mode to Advanced mode for a more traditional quick messaging user experience with a quick settings change. Customers of all types may enjoy the Easy mode, especially seniors.
“The seniors market remains a significant opportunity for the operators to expand their businesses. But as iGR’s research has found, the challenge is to provide a solution that meets the specific needs of the seniors with sufficient functions and capabilities yet is easy to use and intuitive, " said Iain Gillott, president of iGR, a market research consultancy focused on the wireless and mobile industry. "Our research has shown that seniors primarily want to make calls, to send and receive photos in text messages, to get driving directions and to read their email. And they want an attractive design that would make their family members envious - the Pantech Ease, with an easy-to-use interface developed collaboratively by AT&T and Pantech and attractive yet senior-friendly form factor, seems to address those needs squarely. ”
Ease will be compatible with AT&T’s High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) 7.2 Mbps technology. This technology provides a considerable boost to the nation’s fastest 3G network when combined with expanded backhaul.
”AT&T customers have come to rely on Pantech’s ability to create phones that meet their unique lifestyle needs,” said Jim Berridge, vice president of sales and marketing, Pantech Wireless. “Ease is a phone that incorporates the latest customer requests – a touch screen – yet does so in a manner which is easy to use. We have a winner with Ease and we’re confident that customers will be impressed with both the design and functionality of this handset.”
Ease takes into account user experience design principles to ensure an easy-to-use experience.
In Easy Mode, the Ease also boasts quick access to:
Ease will be available at AT&T retail stores nationwide and online at www.wireless.att.com on June 20 for $69.99 (Pay $119.99 and after mail-in rebate receive $50 AT&T Promotion Card. Two year service agreement and a minimum $20 messaging or combination of messaging and data plans required.)
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com.