Sprint’s Google power play — Why it matters.

Sprint’s Google power play — Why it matters.
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If you’ve heard the news from CTIA in the past week then you already know that the Nexus S is now a 4G (WiMax) phone on Sprint. You also know that Sprint is offering deep Google Voice integration. Do these two things matter to you? They should.

First off, the Nexus S is supposedly an incredible phone. Though my own experiences with it were far from stellar, I have to chalk that up to a faulty single device. Every person that I’ve talked to about the S has loved it. I can’t fault Samsung for having a single device with a problem. Now, put that incredible device onto Sprint’s 4G network and you’ve got a blazing-fast, Google-specific phone that is the benchmark for the current Android crop.

Now let’s look at the Google Voice side of things. If you’ve ever used Google Voice then you’re probably painfully aware of that ever-so-slight delay when talking on an inbound call. This happens because a call must be routed to Google, instead of being sent directly to your handset, thus adding another link to the chain. With Sprint working Google Voice directly into its system, that delay disappears. What you’re left with is stunningly good call quality, and zero latency.

I spoke to representatives from Sprint and the company is 100-percent behind the Google Voice implementation. If you’re a heavy Gvoice user, and you’re not yet a Sprint customer, you probably should be. While the company isn’t a GSM provider, it’s not at all uncommon for those of us in tech to have a secondary device for overseas travel. So keep your fantastic Google Voice implementation while you’re at home and flip on the GSM phone when you go abroad.

How committed is Google to the implementation? I asked the hard question, with both Google and Sprint people standing right there: How long would this be a Sprint exclusive? According to Google’s Vincent Paquet (Sr. Product Manager of Google Voice), Google has no existing plans to work with any other carriers.

Where does it leave the rest of us? In a sticky situation. If you’re addicted to the features that your Google Voice brings, it’s a no-brainer move to switch to Sprint. If you’re not yet fully sold, chances are that you just aren’t using Google Voice to its full ability. Custom greetings, multiple-ringing lines, do-not-disturb times? These are the features that we’d all have loved to have had for years, and Google is providing them to you for free.

The obvious answer as to why it all matters is that Sprint is entering into a powerful partnership in a time when the rest of the US carrier market is in a pretty confusing state. While nothing has changed today from what it was a week ago, the months that are to come will undoubtedly hold surprises. When it comes to me and my services, I want stability, not surprises. The Google and Sprint partnership is a firm, stable platform, and I’ll be the next one jumping ship to join it.

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