Apr 13 AT 2:01 PM Taylor Wimberly 38 Comments

Sprint Android Phone Recap

This week we will be recapping all the major carriers’ plans to launch Android phones.  I decided to start with Sprint because they are most likely the next major US carrier to join the Android revolution.  Along with T-Mobile, Sprint is the only other US carrier to join the Open Handset Alliance.  Samsung has already confirmed Android phones for Sprint and T-Mobile and now all we can do is wait.  The following is an overview of what Sprint customers can expect with their first Android experience.

Release Date

Sprint has yet to announce a launch date for Android devices, but it should be in the later half of 2009.  The first Android based Samsung phone is expected overseas in late June, with two more US models to follow.  Before Android makes it debut, Sprint must get the Palm Pre launch to get out of the way in June.  My best guess would be an October time frame.

There were rumors last year that Sprint would release a device in 2008, but those plans were delayed because of the carriers concern over Google’s vision.  Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the Android platform was not “good enough to put the Sprint brand on it.”  It appears Samsung has solved this problem by offering a device that is less about the “Google experience” and more focused on the Android platform.  My favorite thing about Android is the seamless integration of Google services, but it looks like Sprint has chosen a different path.

3G/4G Coverage

Sprint is already advertising the first 4G network available in Baltimore and Portland.  Soon it will be coming to Chicago and Philadelphia.  The 4G network is run by Clearwire and uses WiMAX technology.  Motorola, Nokia, and Samsung have expressed interest in releasing dual mode 3G/4G products and Sprint is likely to release the first 4G Android device.

While T-Mobile is still rolling out their 3G network, Sprint completed most of their 3G updrage in 2007.  Sprint’s 3G network (Power Vision) includes many extra services such as Sprint TV, Sprint Radio Stations, Sprint Music Store, Sprint On-Demand, and more.  It will be interesting to see which of these features make their way to Android.  For more information on Sprint’s network, check out their coverage map.

Data Plans

Sprint prefers to roll their data plans in with the minute plans. The “best value” currently offered is the Simply Everything plan for $99 a month. This includes unlimited data, direct connect, txt, and minutes. Currently, there are three tiers of data plans that will most likely be offered for Android phones.

  • $99.99 – Unlimited Everything
  • $89.99 – 900 Minutes, Unlimited Data, Messaging, Direct Connect
  • $69.99 – 450 Minutes, Unlimited Data, Messaging, Direct Connect

The Sprint plan offered for $69 is very competitive with T-Mobile. Unlimited data and text on T-Mobile is $35 and a comparable minute plan is $39. Sprint beats that price by $5 which would save you $120 over a 2yr contract.

Phones

Will Samsung's first Android device look like this?

Will Samsung's first Android device look like this?

Samsung will release the first Android phone for Sprint, but we have no further details on what model or features will be included.  The latest Samsung smartphone offered to Sprint customers was the Instinct.  The build is similar to the upcoming HTC Magic in that the device is touch only.  Samsung also offers the Impression on AT&T which features a full slide out keyboard.

Other manufactures likely to release Android devices for Sprint include HTC, Motorola, and LG.

Conclusion

Sprint customers who have been patiently waiting for Android will finally be rewarded in 2009.  They might even see the first 4G Android device.  What remains to be seen is what changes will Samsung make to the Android platform?  We know most carriers are scared of Google, but it’s the Google services that make Android so valuable.  Will Samsung allow all the Google programs to be added instead of the Sprint counterparts?  If you are a current Sprint user, please share your thoughts on Android and Samsung’s plans to strip out the Goolge services.

Sprint will be the 2nd US carrier to release an Android phone.

Sprint will be the 2nd US carrier to release an Android phone.

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

    Most Tweeted This Week

  • Nick

    I switched from Sprint to T-Mobile to get a G1. I was going to wait until Sprint’s Android phone, but after their “not good enough” comment I switched and have been very happy with T-Mobile. I’d be concerned about what Sprint might do with Android, and I always thought HTC made higher quality and better touch screen phones than Samsung. Plus Sprint uses CDMA instead of GSM, so I wonder whether the phones will have SIM cards or if you’d be locked in with Sprint with it. In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what other carriers do with Android. In the meantime, I’ll be happily using my G1.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I was also with Sprint for 4 years before I switched to T-Mobile. My only complaints have been price and lack of 3G in my area, but those issues have been addressed by T-Mobile.

  • Lettuce Joans

    I’ve been patiently waiting for Sprint to release their Android phone for a very long time. The “not good enough” comment made my blood boil, but I still waited anyway. If sprint actually does put any restrictions on Android then I will happily leave and go with another service that has a non-restricted Android phone.

  • webby

    Just a little reality check on Sprint — This company is not in very good shape. I hope they can survive. Perhaps the Pre will help revive them, and then perhaps a successful Android phone … Right now, considering the condition of the company, I would be hesitant to pony up for an expensive phone and sign a contract with them.

  • vigor

    I too have been very patiently waiting and am a current Sprint customer, but I will be even more disappointed with their version if they rip out or don’t allow Gogglecentric apps. Part of the reason I want an Android phone is because of those things. I do hope it turns out well otherwise I will take all my business wireless somewhere else.

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      I have a feeling they will cripple it from the comments I have read….

  • shane

    I too have been waiting for Sprints Android phone. Sprint has alway been one of the few carriers that will allow its users to do what they like with their handsets, so I dont believe that the will “cripple” the phone. I have decided though that if this Samsung phone is not up to snuff I may go get a iPhone. I would hate to leave Sprint because even though the customer service is horrible in a epic way, the network is second to none. Sprint really needs to get on the ball and get a Android phone out the door and quick, the Pre and this handset could make a huge difference in business

  • James

    Stripping the Google Services from it is a mistake. Most people buying an Android phone want it for the Google services. Google is smart by offering so many services through their account. Once they get other networks on the Android platform, their potential will be much larger, and the earlier adopters will be rewarded with large surges in customers.

    It is short sided to think that the other sprint services will suffer because of the “competing” Google features. They make their money on long term customers. Adding all Google components will only increase that long term.

  • Joe

    As another one who has *waited* for the sprint android I will be gone the second they strip out the google services. I will probably sell my sprint stock at the same time – that would truly show stupidity on their part.

    Right now I am not under contract but am staying with them becuase I like their service (even their customer service has imporved).

    Good luck Sprint!

  • Gammax

    wasn’t there reports of t mobile might merge with sprint?? so it would make some sense that they would.

  • nEx.Software

    God, I hope not. I like T-Mobile just the way it is. No need to mess it up with Sprint.

  • chad

    My parents have had sprint for years, and want me to join their plan and dump my g1, I would be saving a $100 a month. It seems that a. What should $180 plan is always costing them $250 to $400 a month, most of the time is over charges for things they never used. Normally a phone call to sprint fixes it, but still get your crap together, but I suspect they are over billing their customers just to see who pays it with out looking at their bill. If sprint removes “google” from google android and replaces it with their own pay to use service, or removes the google apps, why go with sprint? And its a yet another bad business move, and I hope it bites them in as*. Well I’m sure that it will be possible to flash a real version of android to the phone, since android is opensource it will be pointless for sprint to try to limit it. Go ahead sprint waste your money trying to limit android. Wasteing money and crappy customer service, and constantly over/ mis billing your customers speaks volumes about your current business condition.

  • Ken

    I think you have the wrong impression about Sprint plans. You can get any plan you want on Sprint and add data services for $15/month.

    I think they’ve restructured their website to confuse T-Mo refugees less, but it’s basically à la carte when you get down to it.

    You could have a “basic” $29.99/mo 200 minute plan and add unlimited data service for $15/mo. It depends on what you want.

  • Mark

    I’ve been with Sprint for twelve years… Same experience as everybody else – great network,

    I have been out of contract for two years and using a crappy phone I can’t stand, just waiting for Sprint to get their Android act together.

    I am in Pittsburgh. I would rather have a google-app-enabled G1 or later Android phone, on T-Mobile’s crappy 2G network, than a crippled phone on Sprint’s great network.

    Do you hear us, Sprint? Three smartphone users on our plan all need an open Android phone. We’ll get it on your network, or we’ll say “buh-bye”.

  • onejay

    i have been with sprint since 02 and even worked for the company for two of those years, and currently use the blackberry pearl. i am not under contract, but i am waiting for them to release and android phone before i upgrade or switch. that said, I WOULD BE VERY DISAPPOINTED IF SPRINT LIMITED GOOGLE APPS FROM THE PHONE. google is genius in everything that they do. if the phone didnt come with all the apps i would get my phone hacked with whatever version of android i wanted, and if i couldnt hack it i would most definitely leave sprint for a carrier with whom i could.

  • Eduardo B

    I have been a Sprint customer for 10+ years and have been patiently awaiting the Android, but if they strip out Google services or WiFi that’s it, I’ve had it and I’ll go get the Android or iPhone elsewhere…

  • Albert G

    I too have been a Sprint customer for many years and am waiting for an Android. If they cripple it or strip out the Google services I’ll be searching for a new provider. If they take too much longer I may just stop waiting.

  • Menelik

    I would like to see google services include in the Sprint Android, i have been a nextel customer since 05 and only stayed with sprint because of the powersource phone i’m currently using. I’m happy with my powersource phone (besides the battery life) but i’m out of my contract and ready for an upgrade i want a sprint android but if the google services are not included i will just get a iphone.

  • GC

    Not to sound like a broken record, but I would reiterate what other folks have said here…. I’ve been with Sprint for several years and have always been happy with their network. Sure, it take about 4 long phone calls and 3 trips into a store everytime I changes phones, but once they get everything working it’s all good. If they de-Googleize their Andriod offering I will dump them for someone that will give me what I’ve been waiting for ever since I heard about Android.

  • Nick

    I agree, stripping the Google out of Android would be suicide for them. I can see them decoupling them, and letting users choose from multiple services, but blocking Google stuff completely would be insane. I just can’t imagine they’d be that stupid… but I’ve been wrong before, so ::shrugs::

  • Earl Driscoll

    I am in the process of changing from Sprint to T-Mobile. When I spoke with Sprint Customer Retentions I was told that Sprint has no current plans to release an Android phone. I believe the October timeframe I read in blogs and I was amazed that Sprint has not told their customer service reps.

  • LP

    I agree with what most others are saying… I’m a long time Sprint customer, out of contract, & have been waiting for Android to be available for us since it was launched with T-Mobile last year! I want FULL GOOGLE SERVICES, otherwise what’s the point!! Anything less & I will walk. I’m tired of Sprint crippling their phones & offering less than competing phone carriers do. And please hurry Sprint, I’m very tired of waiting.

  • Quentin

    I agree with everything said on this site. I am a Sprint customer and I am also waiting for a full service Google phone. Lets hope it comes out soon, or here i come T-mobile.

  • tatnai

    ditto – it’s a google world, we all love google services. android is about integrating those services with our lives, plus the myriad of other benefits. hey, if sprint releases a googled-out phone, i’m just going to root it anyways and put whatever I want on it. but, i’m already running android on my sprint vogue (aka sprint touch), so hey, sprint, DO WHAT YOU WANT I DON’T CARE ANYMORE!

  • tatnai

    actually, I will further say this. google has been incredibly smart, realizing that people are about communication and integration (same communication on all devices), and have built an empire allowing people to do what they want to do and do it best. the iphone is a great device, but guess what – the apple put hardware and software first, communication second; its a google world, and with a google device no matter how sweet that iphone interface is, one look at an integrated Hero device that is sweetness + communication the way you want, and iphone is coming in second. sprint, you remove communication and you are handing jelly donuts without the strawberry filling inside to customers who are dying for strawberry filling. fully equipped google android phones will sweep both sprint and iphones aside because it is what we’ve been waiting for. come gmail, come google calendar, come all services google. only question is, once google is the lone dominating behemoth, what will they do next? scary thought.

  • Bagehi

    I’ve been with Sprint since 2001. I worked for Sprint 3 of those years. What the CEO said is ridiculous. I’d take an alpha version of a google app over most of the applications Sprint throws together. I don’t want bells, whistles, and flashing lights, I want fast and functional. Google apps are fast and functional. My fingers are crossed.

  • compulsionstar

    right now i have sprint. i use cheap phone. i use my g-calendar to send me SMS messages about things i for the day. i owuld love to have a android phone that was integrated with google.if they put restrictions on it i definitely wouldn’t get an android phone from them. that is the point of an android phone. I would probably switch.

  • coach ceo

    ive been with sprint for 8 years as well. i use to think sprint was well above the rest of their competitors with their decent individual plans and family plans along with good reception. but the phones have always been way below par. plus the fact that sprint hands down overprices any phone even worth getting. ive been contemplating switching to att or tmobile for weeks now and the new g2 might make me switch. if not then the iphone would suffice. why wont sprint just make this android phone and keep their customers happy if its not 400 or 500 dollars. i say just switch now because like all companies sprint will advertise a new phone wait months and months to release it then say its the best phone on the market….. but for 450 dollars with mail in rebate. i think its time to tell sprint to kick rocks!

  • CoreyM

    I joined with sprint when i lived in Michigan, because there were no other carries that even came close to their network there. Now fast forward 6+ years and i’m still with them, albeit living in Las Vegas now, and the coverage here is bunk to say the least, but not the worst i’ve seen. I have wanted an Andorid phone since it was just a wisper on the internet, and we still haven’t gotten the phone that we deserve. I’m a huge fan of Free and Open Source Software, and use linux as my primary operating system, this is why i’m so interested in Android. I’m on razors edge with sprint anyway, if they “cripple” their android phones to substitute their crap apps on this thing, i will be gone. period. sprint tv, and all the other junk they put on the phones is less than useless. GIMME GOOGLE!

  • Justin L

    From what i read even though it wont come with the google stuff out of the sprint android all you haft to is download all google apps or whatever for free. Anybody that is used to linux or anything should be able to do this with ease.

  • http://www.steubing.net James

    I am excited about an Android phone on Sprint’s network and it’s about the only thing keeping me from jumping ship and going to AT&T for an iPhone. I will be very upset if Sprint limits the Google aspects of the Android OS. They really jacked the Instinct up and to this day it’s still not a very robust phone. App availability is what made the iPhone successful and I hope Sprint realizes limiting this phone will limit it’s success.

  • Steve-O

    Dude, I don’t know what everybody here is talking about. Even the so-called “limited” versions of Android (like on the new HTC Hero, which could very well be one of the first Android phones on Sprint) still have all of the available Google apps on them/available to them. Stop your ultimatums people, nobody gives a shit.

    Seriously though, all Android-powered phones will have access to all of the Google apps. The Sprint version will most likely just ALSO contain the extra Sprint-centric apps as well.

  • capthr
  • ega278

    Steve-O, if anyone should give a shit about ultimatums, it’s Sprint.

    I’ve been with Sprint since 2000 and I’m currently off contract and have been awaiting an Android phone since I first heard about it being in development years ago. I was super pissed that Sprint felt Android wasn’t “good enough” yet, meanwhile the G1 has been making be drool for over a year. Now T-Mobile has two Android phones?! It seems like they have their stuff together. Sprint always has to add their stuff to the phones they sell and it’s annoying. I never use their crap apps because they’re only Sprint specific. A carrier should be a carrier and that’s it. Just provide the network so the users can do as they please with their devices. Not provide extra crap, or try to provide software to use or worse yet, try to sell the user crap.

    Sprint better have a non-messed with Google experience device by the end of the year or I’m done. I’ve always felt restricted on Sprint, and I’ve been waiting on a Google experience device to change that. The Android platform is open source for a reason, and that’s what I expect to get when / if? it’s released. Also as the updates come, the device can be updated quickly as a Google experience phone, versus an HTC Hero version that will have to be tweaked by HTC before it can update it’s devices because it’s a customized version of Android.

    Last thing, these touchscreen only phones are basically all software operated. What I mean is that there aren’t all those buttons from a hardware keyboard involved, or a sliding/flip-open mechanism to fool with, hardly anything at all so therefore are simpler to make. So therefore will naturally be cheaper, which is good, but that’s not the case. Why are they still as expensive or more expensive than the more hardware integrated ones? If? / when Sprint releases an Android device that’s touch only, it better not have a ridiculous inflated price, but I think that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

    “Here’s your Android device you’ve been waiting for, and it’s only $500!”

  • Pingback: Android and Me()

  • Voice of Reason

    I’ve used Sprint for over 12 years. Went thru Palm, now on MS Mobile, looking hard at Android. Sync with my corp Exchange server is my primary concern. MS Mobile does it very well and I’m on a $10 data plan. I HATE the Sprint apps and can’t get them deleted from my menu. Customer service is getting bad again. Sprint sold their network to Ericsson. My kids go to BAMA and Sprint service in Tuscaloosa is horrible. The dark days are coming for Sprint. This 12 year customer is about to bolt. Verizon or ATT most likely, because of the Tuscaloosa service. T-Mobile is bad there too.

  • Dave Carter

    I’m getting ready to bolt Sprint and move to Verizon because of the new Motorola Droid. I’m planning on waiting till December to make a decision because I’m hoping Sprint announces a new phone similar to the Droid. It also gives me some time to see what Droid users say about their new phones.

    Sprint, you need a Android 2.0 phone with similar specs to the Vz Droid to get back into the competition. ATT was already taking customers witht he iPhone and now, it looks like Verizon will take the rest.

    You better do something quick because your network isn’t all the good, but your prices are fair. Still, I’m tired of dropping calls and text messages not going through so it’s looking like I will most likely switch to Verizon witht he new Droid….

  • http://Website Neicey

    I personally haven’t read anything about SPRINT dropping or limiting the google apps.

    I am trying to stay with sprint because I have great service for somewhat of a reasonable price. I have been with them since 2004 and can count on one hand how many times my service has dropped. I can even get calls from the basement, something my family can’t say (they are on ATT and Verizon)
    That being said, they need to upgrade seriously, I use my phone less for calling and but the applications would benefit greatly. So they need to hurry up before I decide to take the plunge and switch.