Sprint Has Opportunity with SlingPlayer for Palm Pre

Wireless companies spend millions trying to convince consumers to select their service. Undoubtedly, you’ve seen commercials promising "fewer dropped calls" or the familiar Verizon network group that follows you around town. With the growth of smartphones, wireless companies now pitch their data services and this has become a new revenue stream, with most unlimited data plans starting at $30. Unlimited doesn’t actually mean unlimited and it couldn’t be more apparent than AT&T’s recent confirmation that they were involved in removing 3G capability on the SlingPlayer for iPhone application. Sprint has done a great job creating buzz around the Palm Pre and this move by AT&T offers them a unique opportunity to generate a different kind of buzz.

SlingPlayer is an application that allows a mobile user to stream television and even movies from their DVR, TiVo and virtually any type of set-top box. It requires a SlingBox, which ranges in price from $199 and up. SlingPlayer has been available on the Palm OS and Windows Mobile for years. With the transition to bigger, more vibrant screens, it’s natural that owners of these devices would want a compatible version of SlingPlayer.

From the launch of the first iPhone, Sling Media realized there was consumer demand and promised SlingPlayer for iPhone was "in the works". Submitted for approval in March, SlingPlayer for iPhone debuted in the App Store on Tuesday, but was missing one notable feature – support for 3G. With support for WiFi only, the application is far less desirable. If you are in a WiFi zone, you can utilize any laptop and watch your SlingBox for free, making it hard to justify the $29.99 price. AT&T confirmed they were behind the change and recent news reports claim AT&T is having a tough time retaining profitability due to "bandwidth hogging apps". I sense an opportunity for both Palm and Sprint.

As Palm looks to bring developers on board, Sprint has the task of selling their network. What if Sprint were to invite Sling Media to the Palm Pre party? Developers for Sling previously stated that Android was next in line, but they might have since changed their tune given the excitement generated around the Palm Pre and lack of new Android phones making their way into the market. A simple "tweet" inviting them to look at the Mojo SDK would do the trick. Tech blogs and consumers would eat it up, many still seething over AT&T pulling 3G support from SlingPlayer. Is it enough for people to jump ship? That all depends on there being a viable option. Palm and Sprint are in a unique position to offer that option. Anyone else up for SlingPlayer on the Palm Pre?

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