So what if Android application developers are a broke lot?
They've got another vehicle on which to launch their non-money-making applications. It's the HTC Hero from Sprint, the second U.S. phone carrier after T-Mobile to offer a smartphone based on Google's Android mobile operating system. T-Mobile offers the G1 and the myTouch 3G, which rolled out last month.
Sprint's HTC Hero syncs with Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube, and uses HTC Sense, which provides users customizable widgets that create "scenes." I first wrote about this in June, but Sprint noted today in a release:
"HTC Hero users can easily create and switch between Scenes to reflect different moments or roles in their lives, such as work, social, travel and play. For example, a work Scene can be easily set up to include stock updates, work email and calendar, a play Scene could have music, weather, and a Twitter feed or a travel Scene could offer instant access to the local time, weather and maps."
Here's pictures of the phone, which will go on sale Oct. 11 through Sprint.com, 1-800-SPRINT1, and Best Buy for $179.99 after a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement.
My favorite brief on this launch so far comes from Silicon Alley Insider's Dan Frommer, who nails Sprint on the HTC Hero pricing strategy:
"Hello! The 8 GB iPhone 3G is $99 without a rebate. The new 16 GB iPhone 3GS is $199 without a rebate. Any wonder that the iPhone is cleaning your clocks in sales? The fact that Google's operating system was free and open-source was supposed to make its phones significantly cheaper. So make it happen, or Android will continue to be a "better Windows Mobile" forever."
Now those are pearls of wisdom Android-supporting phone carriers need to live by. AdMob already established that developers for Apple's iPhone are rich compared to Android developers. Larva Labs backed it up.
Shouldn't Google, Sprint, T-Mobile and any Android-carrying smartphone makers do something drastic to shake up the market, which seems to be iPhone's to lose?
I'm open to suggestions. In the meantime, I can't wait to see Motorola's Android announcement at Mobilize 09 next Thursday. More on TechMeme here.