Boost Mobile delivered some good news and some bad news today.
First the good. The carrier's second Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Transform will be available Oct. 7th for $229.99 at Boost Mobile retail stores, select independent wireless dealers and boostmobile.com with free shipping.
The Transform Ultra is a significant upgrade (faster processor, better camera and larger screen) over Boost's first Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Prevail. It also has a slide out QWERTY keyboard and is the first phone to feature Mobile ID, a service that lets customers download and install “ID packs.” The packs deliver sets of applications, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers related to a lifestyle or interest, such as sports, entertainment, fitness or music. The available Packs at launch are MTV Music, E!, Socially Connected, Professional, Entertainment, Lo2Yo Latino, Lo2Yo Mujer and Lo2Yo Futbol. Other features of the Transform Ultra include:
- Android 2.3 with Access to Android Market™
- Full QWERTY Keypad
- 3MP camera with video
- Wi-Fi®, GPS and Wireless Web enabled
- Front-facing VGA camera for video chat
- Easy access to Gmail™ and Google Talk™
- Bluetooth® capable
- Speakerphone with voice-activated dialing
- Supports microSD® cards up to 32GB (2GB card included)
- Voice mail, caller ID, call waiting and three-way calling.
- Dimensions 4.57" x 2.4" x 0.55" (116 mm x 61 mm x 14 mm), Weight 4.9oz (139 gm)
The bad news is that effective Oct. 6th, one day before the Transform Ultra's release, Boost will begin requiring a $55/month Android Unlimited Plan for all Android devices. This is a $5/month increase over the standard Unlimited Plan.
The Android Plan does come with Shrinkage, for every six on-time payments, the customer’s monthly cost will shrink by $5, eventually getting to $40 a month, $5 more than the regular Monthly Unlimited with Shrinkage.
Existing customers who have an Android phone active on their accounts before Oct. 6th will be able to keep their current price plan as long as they don’t let their account expire. However, existing Monthly Unlimited customers upgrading to a CDMA Android-powered device on or after Oct. 6, will add a $5 monthly charge to their current monthly payment without losing any of their accrued Shrinkage savings.
It's not clear what will happen if an existing customer upgrades from one CDMA Android phone to another. On Virgin Mobile, which like Boost is part of Sprint, customers on grandfathered rate plans to not see a price hike when upgrading phones. Hopefully Boost will not treat Android to Android upgrades the same way.
Update: I asked a Boost press contact whether the $5 plan price increase would apply to a customer upgrading from a Prevail to a Transform Ultra and the answer is yes. Even switching from one Prevail to another would trigger the price increase. The only exception is for a customer replacing a lost, stolen or damaged Prevail with another Prevail through Boost Customer Care.