Android Coming to Sprint Next Month; iPhone Coverage Gripes Continue
The wait for a choice of carriers selling smartphones running Google's Android software will end next month, when Sprint plans to start selling its first such device. Sprint announced the news this morning, saying it will sell HTC's Hero, pictured below, starting Oct. 11.
This slim, touchscreen model (PDF) resembles the myTouch G1 T-Mobile began selling earlier this year, which remains only the second Android phone to appear in the U.S. market on any carrier's inventory. But the Hero -- $279.99 before a $100 mail-in rebate to new and renewing customers who opt for Sprint's $69.99-and-up voice-plus-unlimited-data bundles -- will run on a considerably wider 3G network than T-Mobile's underdeveloped service.
I wrote last month that this sort of move was overdue, but I was thinking then that we wouldn't see any movement on Android phones until later in the fall. I'm glad to be wrong about that.
Verizon Wireless, however, still hasn't livened up its own inventory in any significant way. Memo to Verizon: Waiting for Research in Motion to match the ease of use and elegance of the iPhone, the Pre or Android doesn't look like a sound strategy.
Meanwhile, the iPhone continues to suffer its own carrier-induced problems. The New York Times has a good summary this morning of AT&T's attempts to keep up with the bandwidth demands of iPhone users -- "10 times the network capacity used by the average smartphone user," the piece says.
AT&T's troubles have drawn a fair amount of snarky complaints (the first comment in Slashdot's discussion of this story was "I would have had the first post, but I'm browsing from my iPhone."). The company says it's working to fix these problems by adding new towers and, in some cities, a new layer of wireless spectrum.
Failing to meet that deadline to deliver a feature that AT&T provides on just about every other phone it sells, and which iPhone carriers in other countries already offer, will make a non-trivial number of iPhone users here even crankier.
Update: iPhone users, prepare yourselves for crankiness! AT&T announced this afternoon that it will enable MMS with a software update on Sept. 25. The word "summer" is absent from its statement.
If you're in the market for a new smartphone, what's your take on Sprint's news and AT&T's issues? And how long do you think it will take for Verizon to start selling a smartphone more interesting than the latest warmed-over BlackBerry?
September 3, 2009; 1:03 PM ET
Categories: Gadgets , Telecom
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