Sprint kicked off CTIA 2007 today by unveiling the Samsung UpStage, the first U.S. version of the cell phone with the split personality, the Samsung Ultra Music. In an event designed to, ahem, upstage the competition, Sprint said the UpStage (aka the Samsung SPH-M620) would go on sale for $149 with a two-year contract, scheduled for the first week of April. The UpStage features a unique and innovative dual-sided design that successfully integrates a cell phone and an MP3 player into one device. It has its quirks to be sure but on the whole it's a sleek, satisfying device with admirable performance. Just be advised that during your first couple sessions of use a dose of patience is needed. For a full report on the UpStage read our review.
The UpStage first saw light late last year as the GSM Samsung Ultra Music. Though it was announced originally at a Hong Kong electronics show the phone showed up on U.S. shores two months ago at CES. At that time Samsung would not say which U.S. carrier would be getting the device but it soon became clear that Sprint would be the lucky winner (albeit with a CDMA model). As we report in our review, the UpStage has the potential to be a cell phone industry trendsetter. And though it can't match the Apple iPhone on the hype factor it already has two things the Apple handset lacks: wireless music downloads and support for 3G networks.