Sprint previously had stated that they wouldn’t be releasing any new QChat phones. The Motorola V950e technically isn’t a new phone, but does bear a different model number than the V950.
QChat was a technology that Sprint secured exclusive rights to in the United States from Qualcomm. It offers hardware-accelerated Push to Talk sessions that rival the Nextel iDEN network in connection time and quality, and is generally preferred to standard SIP PTT phone software. However, QChat was a market failure; it cost too much to integrate into phones, especially smartphones.
It’s not clear if the V950e is re-using existing stockpiles of the phone, or is a re-tooling designed to allow Sprint to sell the phone well into the future. The only notable difference, according to Sprint, is that the battery has been upgraded from 1100 mAh to 1750 mAh, giving it significantly more talk and standby time.
This re-tooling may be an effort to have options for future wind-downs of the Nextel iDEN network. With Sprint in-talks to potentially switch to LTE and merge with T-Mobile USA, the combined company would then be maintaining five networks: iDEN, GSM, UMTS, CDMA2000, and WiMAX (via Clearwire). It would be logical to conclude that such a joint venture would prompt Sprint to accelerate plans to wind down iDEN quickly, in order to cut costs and staff overlap.
More reinforcement to the notion that the V950e is destined for business iDEN migrations; the V950e is only being sold through business channels at this time, with existing V950 units still being sold to consumers.