Today, Alltel, the littlest big carrier, launches Jump Music, software that's iTunes-like in its dual nature as music manager and storefront. The announcement might seem like a non-event to most Giz readersâ€”how many Alltel customers are even out there in the Giz nation? But you may want to start paying attention to the carrier: Like T-Mobile, Alltel has begun to address concerns of younger, more deal-conscious customers with unique pricing and unusual phone features. Alltel launched the "My Circle" network, which lets you pick 10 people from any network that you want to talk to for free. (OK, for "free.") Now it is getting into the music business.
As fans of the hallowed Frog Design (or, if you prefer the k.d. lang version, "frog design") we were stoked to hear that Alltel used them to design the user interface for the music store. Frog had previously designed a "cell top" interface for an Alltel-powered Samsung u520. Now it seems it's extending that aesthetic to the desktop, as you can see above.
Design cred aside, the Jump Music software is cool because it provides a storefront to eMusic, the DRM-free music store that reminds us every so often that it is second only to iTunes in downloaded songs. (And you get 35 free tracks for joining, as opposed to eMusic's customary 25 free tracks.)
The software will manage your existing MP3s, and allow you to sort and transfer tracks to phones including the LG AX8600, MOTOKRZR K1m, MOTORAZR V3m, The Wafer by Samsung and the aforementioned u520. It doesn't look comprehensive enough to be some kind of full replacement for iTunes (or, for that matter, Windows Media Player or any other manager you prefer). And yes, I know that every carrier and most handset makers have some sort of PC client software, generally designed to keep you from easily putting anything you want on the phone.
But somehow this feels differentâ€”like there's an independent spirit alive in this particular marketing scheme. Am I wrong or right? Well, Alltel says it has 12 million members. If one of you is reading this, please download the software, futz around with it, and report back. Worse thing that happens is that you get stuck with 35 free MP3s and a quick uninstall.
Alltel Wireless launches Jump Music
Free, easy-to-use software helps customers transform wireless phones into mobile music players
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.â€”Alltel Wireless, America's largest network, today launched Jump Music, a free and easy-to-use software that enables customers to transfer compatible music files from personal computers to their wireless phones.
The PC-based Jump Music application gives Alltel Wireless customers greater control over their mobile music experience, empowering them to find, manage and easily transfer music files with the simple click of a button.
"For those who have been waiting for an easy way for customers to put music on their phonesâ€”Jump Music is it," said Wade McGill, senior vice president of wireless products for Alltel. "Jump Music makes it incredibly simple for our customers to take their music with them anywhere they go, and it demonstrates our commitment to providing customers choice and control over their wireless experience."
Jump Music, developed by strategic-creative consultancy frog design, is available for download at www.alltel.com/jumpmusic. The site features a user-friendly interface and enables customers to easily navigate to eMusicâ€”one of the world's largest online music storesâ€”where they can purchase additional music from eMusic's vast catalog of more than 2.5 million tracks in the DRM-free MP3 format. New Jump Music users will also enjoy a special introductory offer of 35 free eMusic tracks.
Jump Music is initially compatible with five Alltel phones: the LG AX8600, MOTOKRZR K1m and MOTORAZR V3m, and the Samsung u520 as well as The Wafer by Samsung.
Jump Music Accessory Kits, featuring a 256 MB memory card, USB cable and a stereo headset, are available at Alltel Wireless retail stores or online at www.shopalltel.com for just $49.99.
Alltel Wireless offers exclusive features including "My Circle," allowing customers to choose who they call for freeâ€”any 10 numbers, any network; Anytime Plan Changes, giving customers the flexibility to change their rate plan any time, without extending their contract; and Celltop, a patent-pending technology that offers customers an easier way to access, manage and organize a wide range of information already available on their phones.
Alltel (NYSE: AT) is owner and operator of the nation's largest wireless network and has 12 million customers. For more information about Alltel, please visit www.alltel.com