The 4G smartphone Sprint has in the works is likely to run Google's Android OS and take advantage of Sprint's WiMax investments with Clearwire. By the end of 2010, Clearwire will likely exceed 100 million U.S. subscribers, creating a solid customer base.
Sprint has a 4G smartphone in the works, and it's believed to run Google's
Android mobile operating system, be made by Samsung and debut in 2010,
according to reporting from PC World.
At the 4G World Conference in Chicago,
Sprint Business Unit Vice President Todd Rowley confirmed to PC World that the
carrier is indeed in talks with a handset maker for the phone, but was not forthcoming
with additional details, except to say that Sprint won't begin selling the 4G smartphone
until Clearwire acquires 100 million U.S.
customers. This would put the timeframe of the device in late 2010.
Sprint, which owns 51 percent of Clearwire, is a major backer in the WiMax
4G technology. Clearwire currently has WiMax deployments in Baltimore,
of Sept. 15
, approximately 20 square miles of the Silicon Valley.
anticipates having 80 cities covered with WiMax in 2010
On July 23, Samsung
rolled out a tablet device called the Mondi, which offers WiMax and Wi-Fi
connectivity. The same day, Clearwire debuted a dual-mode 4G/3G Mobile USB
that enables a 4G connection where service is available and defaults
to a 3G connection where it's not. A 4G Android Sprint phone is expected to do
Several factors point to Sprint and Samsung choosing Android, PC World
points out. These include the success of the Mondi; that both Sprint and
Samsung are members of the Open Handset Alliance; and that Sprint will host an
Android-featured developer conference in October. That the Android OS is open source
also makes it attractive to application developers, and on
Oct. 11 Sprint will begin offering its first Android smartphone, the HTC Hero
Ken Hyers, a senior analyst with Technology Business Research, says he can't
confirm such reports. However, he told eWEEK, "I do think this is plausible and
even likely. A CDMA EVDO/WiMax smartphone is an obvious step for Sprint, and
Android is the obvious OS to develop such a device on."
Given Sprint's years-long relationship with Samsung, Hyers says it's the
handset vendor he expects Sprint would turn to for a CDMA/WiMax device. Plus,
he adds, "The timeframe fits because by late 2010 the WiMax network will have
better coverage-there's not much point in rolling out a multimode 3G/4G device
until the 4G coverage is there."
In a statement announcing Clearwire's Silicon Valley
rollout, Larry Alder, Google's mobile product manager, remarked, "Mobile
broadband is fundamentally changing the way people use the Internet, and 4G
networks like Clearwire's have incredible potential. We're excited to see how
developers will take advantage of this unique asset as Internet users
increasingly expect connectivity regardless of their device or location."