Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference on July 24, said the nation’s third-largest carrier would offer a mobile device running the Google Android operating system later in 2009, according to multiple sources.
Reuters reported that Hesse didn’t say which vendor’s device Sprint plans to offer, but he did say he has an eye on the work of Motorola’s new CEO, Sanjay Jha, who has been turning the phone maker’s focus to Google’s Android OS.
“Some things I can’t disclose, but I’m pretty impressed on the handset side with what Sanjay’s been able to do there since he’s been there,”Hesse said.
Sprint released the enormously hyped and very positively reviewed Palm Pre on June 6, giving Sprint what Hesse referred to at the time as a “coming-out party”-a chance to show off how much work the carrier had done to its network over the course of a year. By most accounts, the Palm Pre’s debut was successful, with most stores selling out.
Before the Fortune conference crowd, however, Hesse said it was still too early to declare the Pre a success.
“You won’t know if we have a real hit on our hands until it’s been out three months, four months, five months … It’s too early to tell,” Hesse said, according to Reuters. “We’re just getting it rolled out in decent quantities for direct distribution.”
Just as the Apple iPhone gave new life to AT&T, the Pre is considered a game-changer for Sprint, though it’s unclear how long Sprint will maintain exclusive U.S. rights to the device.
On July 29, Sprint is scheduled to announce its most recent earnings.
Competitor Verizon Wireless reported on July 27 that its total operating revenues during the second quarter of its fiscal year 2009 grew by 11.3 percent and total customers grew to 87.7 million. However, Verizon executives were coy about the likelihood of a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) iPhone.
AT&T turned in its second-quarter earnings on July 23, announcing consolidated revenues of $30.7 billion for the quarter, along with news that it had activated more than 2.4 million iPhones during the quarter.
Regarding Sprint’s readiness to offer Android, CNet reported that Hesse said he was glad Sprint had waited for the second edition of the operating system, additionally telling the crowd, “The reviews say now it’s ready for prime time. It wasn’t when it first came out.”