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Pantech Ease for AT&T Officially Announced

Posted on June 14th, by Evan Selleck in archive. 1 Comment

With all this talk of Android lately, we’re happy to see that there’s still some companies out there that haven’t jumped on the bandwagon (yet). Pantech’s still out there, making specialized devices like the best of them, and today they’ve worked together with AT&T here in the United States to bring the Pantech Ease out of its testing phases, and into the real world. It’s a messaging device, aimed primarily at those who love to text and type more than they like to talk.

The Ease is designed to make, and keep things simple in your day-to-day life. We love the concept, but we have to see some irony in the fact that in their hope for ease-of-use, they decided to go with a touchscreen interface. The Ease features a 3.2-inch touchscreen, with a landscape slide-out keyboard thrown in for good measure. Features wise, you’ll have access to AT&T’s 3G network, AT&T Navigator, speec-to-text, and a pedometer.

So how is Pantech getting that ease-of-use thing handled? Well, they’re including an “easy mode,” and “advanced mode.” The former features larger text, streamlined menus, as well as larger buttons to touch on that touchscreen. It’s meant for featurephone novices, as well as senior folk. A good idea, to be sure. If you’re interested in picking up the Ease, it will become available on June 20th for $120, after a new, two-year contract gets signed. You’ll also send in a $50 mail-in rebate.

Press Release:

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.

Streamlined, Targeted Menu – Navigating the phone’s features is straightforward with the Easy Mode, which minimizes scrolling and highlights the features customers want to access most.
Large Font – Ease uses a highly visible large font. Additionally, users can increase or minimize the font of received messages with either touch or physical zoom in or out keys.
Easy-to-Use Buttons – Well spaced, backlit buttons on the device respond with a tactile click when pressed, and remain illuminated while in use. Specialized buttons such as the Quick Contact key provide easy access to top 3 contacts and voicemail and the “Say A Command” key allows a user to make a call, start a text or open an application with their voice.
Camera – Activated from the home screen menu or with the dedicated camera key on the side of the phone, the 2-megapixel camera with 7x zoom can quickly switch between picture taking and video recording, allowing users to capture life’s moments as they happen and share them easily with family and friends.
Specialized Tools – The Ease comes with a number of specialized apps to make the users’ life easier. Users can track their steps and see up to a seven-day history with Pedometer. Readout mode audibly announces callers, text message senders and reads out text message text and Voice Mode allows users to dictate a message instead of typing it.
In Easy Mode, the Ease also boasts quick access to:

AT&T Mobile Browser – combines full HTML browsing with unique customization features so customers can easily surf the Internet; view location-aware local news and weather; and read the latest headlines from popular news, sports and entertainment sites.
AT&T Navigator – offers turn-by-turn voice and onscreen driving directions, automatic rerouting, real-time traffic monitoring and more. AT&T Navigator is available for $9.99 per month, and new subscribers receive their first 30 days of their subscription for free.
AT&T Address Book – syncs contacts to an online address book so customers can access and manage their mobile contacts from their handset — or their PC. There is no additional charge to use AT&T Address Book.
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.)

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    I’ve never heard of this prior to. I’ll definately should check these out.