Sprint March 21 said it has begun rolling out a software upgrade over the air to let Samsung Epic 4G users upgrade to Google's Android 2.2 "Froyo" operating system.
Sprint began selling the Samsung Epic 4G, its first Galaxy S device, last August for $249.99 with a two-year deal. Like the Galaxy S devices offered by Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile, the Epic 4G shipped with Android 2.1.
Considering that Froyo is now available for T-Mobile's Samsung Vibrant phone and AT&T's Samsung Captivate handset, and that Android smartphones are increasingly shipping with the Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" build, the Epic 4G was looking and feeling dated.
No longer, thanks to this upgrade, which also includes availability of the Sprint ID application for the Epic 4G and Samsung Galaxy Tab.
Sprint ID lets users customize their devices with applications, wallpapers, widgets and ringtones based on customers' interests or preferred brands. Popular Sprint ID pack downloads include Yahoo, MTV Music ID and ESPN ID.
Sprint said all existing owners of Epic 4G and Galaxy Tab owners will be prompted to accept the over-the-air software update in their device's notification tab by March 24.
Once the update is installed, users can access Sprint ID in their applications menu. Epic 4G users will be able to access Froyo, which offers Adobe Flash Player 10.1 access, Bluetooth dialing, better Microsoft Exchange support and other user-experience perks.
Sprint's Froyo news came concurrently with the availability of Google Voice free for all of its phones, as well as the unveiling of the Nexus S 4G for the carrier's speedy WiMAX network later this spring.
This new triumvirate followed the deal AT&T struck to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion, which Sprint CEO Dan Hesse argued at CTIA Wireless today could limit competition.
T-Mobile became the first Galaxy S provider to offer users Froyo on its Vibrant in January. AT&T followed in February by allowing users to access Froyo, albeit by downloading it from a Web page. Verizon has yet to provide the Froyo bump for its Fascinate gadget.
If the pattern of monthly Froyo availability for first-generation Galaxy S phones holds, Verizon should roll out its Fascinate Froyo upgrade in April.