Oct 07 AT 6:26 PM Taylor Wimberly 22 Comments

Will Sprint offer OTA updates for Android?

Sprint will be launching two Android phones in the next 30 days. The HTC Hero will be available October 11 and the Samsung Moment is dropping November 1.

I have spoken with representatives from HTC, Samsung, and Sprint to confirm that the Hero and Moment will ship with Android 1.5. As many of our regular readers know, T-Mobile began rolling out Android 1.6 last week.

So when will the Sprint Android phones get Android 1.6 and how will it be delivered?

According to both companies, there are no current plans to offer Android 1.6 as an over the air update. Samsung has indicated they will offer Android 1.6 in early 2010 and it will be available as a PC download. HTC said the Android 1.6 update is yet to be determined and is also leaning towards an update method involving the PC.

When I asked why OTA updates would not be available, both companies specifically mentioned file size. I found this kind of odd considering T-Mobile has been able to successfully rollout multiple OTA updates on their network.

If these devices will not support Android 1.6 until 2010, then developers will have to make sure their future apps are backwards compatible with Android 1.5.

Sprint phones will also lack the new Android Market that is packaged with Android 1.6. The new quick search box, camera, gesture controls, and all other enhancements will have to wait till 2010.

If you were planning on purchasing an Android phone from Sprint, does the lack of Android 1.6 change your opinion?

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

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000196677341&ref=name FckingAllen

    what about 2.0 for this phone?

    • valdier

      Yes, 2.0 is *supposed* to be out before the end of the year…

  • Who?

    Just wait on your purchase until it comes with 1.6 or 2.0 out of the box. No big deal.

  • Cintra

    Much as I love my Magic, I would have thought twice if I had known the paid app Market, and OTA updates were to be unavailable in my area. My next Android will definitely be chosen for both those reasons..

    • JLW in Toronto

      Just be happy that you are not with Rogers in Canada!
      They are NEVER going to upgrade their android phones, and they don’t even CARE!!!
      Anyone who purchases an android phone in Canada from Rogers is highly delusional….

  • Kenneth Johansen

    I wouldn’t consider a company like Sprnt. Your phones are your business its that easy. Bottom line. They don’t care. They will never grow with this attitude. Android is their phone and the phones have to stay with the program.

  • machee

    I wonder what this means for the Cellular South Hero. I assumed that because 1.6 provided CDMA support that surely the Hero would have to come with 1.6. Though I guess they could have just backported the CDMA portions or even wrote their own. Hrm…

  • http://twitter.com/rickyrescue Ricky

    What about the Samsung Behold 2? Will it have Android 1.6 or will that be until next year?

  • http://www.TechProsSD.com SDsc_rch

    “If you were planning on purchasing an Android phone from Sprint, does the lack of Android 1.6 change your opinion?”


    but it really makes me wonder… wtf?!

    android1.6 was the patch that enables operation on a cdma network (ie – sprint!) – how in the world does a pre-1.6 version of android function on sprints network


  • TattierPub

    This totally changes my thoughts on picking up the Hero from Best Buy Friday. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were doing an OTA update but saying it’s going to be a PC update leaves this Mac user out in the cold on the curb.

  • http://www.twitter.com/the_real_newman @the_real_newman

    hmm… may have to root the hero afterall.

  • Dave

    This is surely what happens when a phone manufacturer implements their own front end UI, widgets and apps – when a new version of Android comes out they need to spend considerable time checking their code and making changes to ensure it all still works together that users feel left behind.

  • mistermix

    Yet another reason to wait and see what the Sholes has to offer.

  • VicMatson

    Taylor, can you verify that this phone does in fact have 1.6? It’s an important update as it gives the user a much better experience.

    I am Sprint customer and do know that they are extremely slow with updates…2010 could be late 2010.

    Other blogs are reporting 1.6, again Please?

  • VicMatson

    Sorry for the addition 1.5 is not compatible with Sprints CDMA only GSM.

  • anonymous_coward

    Correct me if I’m wrong but:
    1/ This device has the “With Google” logo on it.
    2/ Devices with this logo *should* receive OTA updates.

    • Laurie

      OTA’s are pushed from the service provider, not google. So just because it’s an android with google means nothing as far as getting updates.
      That really sucks for sprint people. glad I’m with Tmo.

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  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/cdrewing Christian

    So how is updating OTA *generaly* made possible? Isn’t the phone connectiong to an Android repository server to catch the new packages – the same way like Ubuntu does it with Canonicals’s servers?

    Or is it dependant from the type of Android phone you own:
    - unbranded phones are getting the updates from the publisher –> HTC server
    - branded phones will connect to the phone company’s server?

    This isnt really clear for me.

  • http://www.phonenews.com/ Christopher Price

    This information is completely bogus. The Sprint Hero already has a hybrid build based on 1.6.

    Sprint has always supported FOTA updates greater than 10 MB. They ship 100+ MB updates for the Palm Pre consistently. There is no SEBU policy barring updates over 10 MB, I don’t know where that rumor came from… but I’ll be happy to strike it down right now.

  • ravila88x

    I have had a HERO since FRIDAY thanks to BESTBUY. The SENSE UI is amazing. But i had the G1 before this and I DO miss the KEYBOARD. It just makes for faster texting. What you guys think?

  • D.J.

    I don’t know much about Android or cell phone OSes in general, so correct me if I’m wrong but with the Moment at least, does OTA really matter that much? It is a standard Android build right? So if an image of Android 1.6 (or 2.0, or whatever) could be found, it should be fairly easy to get it on the phone right? Especially since the Moment uses the same CPU type as HTCs Android phones, meaning that besides the CDMA stuff it would be easy to hack the update on the phone.