Nov 22 AT 11:17 PM Taylor Wimberly 36 Comments

Is Sprint ID the short-term answer to Android fragmentation?

What is Sprint ID? It is Sprint’s custom version of Android that is coming to “most all of” their products next year, but I’m still having a hard time figuring out exactly what Sprint is doing with it long-term.

Sprint explains the ID platform to their customers as follows: “Make your phone a reflection of who you are. Sprint ID lets you cut through the clutter by selecting mobile ID Packs featuring apps, ringers, wallpapers, widgets and more. It’s all about you and the things you love to do.

Basically from what I have gathered (and I’m sure a few Sprint execs will cringe at this), Sprint ID is a theming system for Android that comes with its own segmented market. Customers can download “ID Packs” from the Sprint ID Store, which are a collection of apps you can mostly find in the Android Market.

We briefly previewed Sprint ID during CTIA, but have not really given it that much coverage because it was limited to three low-end Android phones so far. That’s going to change soon because Sprint ID is coming to the Epic 4G, Galaxy Tab, and most of Sprint’s other Android devices.

In an interview on The Engadget Show, Sprint product chief Fared Adib detailed the future of Sprint ID. “We have launched it on three phones today. We are actually going to be porting it to most all of our products”. When questioned if that included the popular HTC EVO 4G, his response was “No”.

As we saw in the comments of the last Sprint ID story, some users were upset about having another custom UI forced onto their phone. Sprint’s response is that the default Spint ID pack offers a blank desktop and this is their “stock Android experience” for users who do not wish to download any ID Packs.

I haven’t heard them specifically say it, but part of me thinks that Sprint ID will become Sprint’s own app store, just like Verizon recently launched V Cast Apps. If the Sprint ID store can distribute apps and it comes on every Sprint phone, what else do you think they will do with it?

The big U.S. carriers have final say about the products they launch and the operating systems that ship with them, so if Sprint wants to do away with HTC’s Sense UI, Motorola’s Motoblur, and Samsung’s TouchWiz, then they have every right to do so.

Sprint has to deal with the growing pains of Android (fragmentation) just like every other carrier, and it sounds like Sprint ID could be the solution to get all their Android products in line and make it cheaper to provide software updates and service them.

If you are curious what Spint ID will do to your Android phone, this is what it will look like.

What do you think of Sprint ID? Is this the solution to Android fragmentation?

Via: Engadget

Source: Sprint ID

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://Website Len

    worst IDea ever!

    • http://Website sdaf

      they wouldnt have to DEAL with fragmentation if they just used STOCK android. all of these devices can run 2.2 great, epic, evo, and whatever else they have and they load crap on their. I cant wait till gingerbread comes out and honeycomb so we get some real UI improvements and OEM’s cna stick their custom UI’s somewhere I dont wanna say. If android continues like this i hate to say it, but wp7 will prevail, because they provide consistency. Google should have made carriers a dumb pipe like their original plan with the N1. Damn carriers

      • http://Website Gee

        Sprint ID is the best alternative that I’ve seen a carrier use. Carriers need bloatware to cash-in/subsidize the phones, this wont change. But Sprint ID is stock Android with a app that allows you to OPTIONALLY download bloatware. If you choose to not download any ID packs, you are left with stock Android with a ID button on the launcher. Just switch the launcher to LP or ADW and you got a nearly stock Android experience. How is that not good?

        Would you rather have Bing shoved in there and non-deletable? Or a non-removable skin like Touchwiz/Sense/Blur? I own a EVO and loaded CM6 because I like stock Android. A family member of mine just recently got a Optimus S w/ Sprint ID and aside from the extra features that CM adds, the experience is exactly the same once I added LP plus.

  • alexthearmo


  • Drewski

    Why are Sprint/Sammy working on this when my Epic STILL does not have Froyo?
    Argh… if I didn’t love that darned SuperAMOLED screen so much, I’d hurl this thing out my window.

    • Taylor Wimberly

      I hate to say it, but Sprint ID is probably one big reason why your Epic 4G will be the last Galaxy S phone to receive Android 2.2. If it happens before 2011 I will be surprised.

  • http://Website mike

    Dear sprint,
    i dont care what you call it its bloatware i dont want it
    Sincerely mike

  • nathan118

    I’m fine with the idea….but let the phone start with stock android, and as long as the ID themes don’t hurt the performance of the phone, then it can’t hurt. Or let people uninstall them all and ignore it if they want. Give people CHOICE.

  • Ben Johnson, GA

    “Make your phone a reflection of who you are. It’s all about you and the things you love to do.”

    Well said, well said. Thats why i went with the iPhone 4!

    • http://Website FlashIG88

      Why are you commenting on Android & Me if you have an iPhone?

      • http://Website Ben Johnson, GA

        I dont care about Android. Its all about the ME. Thats what i am. I thought this is a website to express yourself, isnt it?

        • http://Website Bob

          go away troll

          • http://Website Ben Johnson, GA

            “Make your phone a reflection of who you are. It’s all about you and the things you love to do.”

            Well said, well said. Thats why i went with the iPhone 4!

            (Note: this is a repost) My comment vanished thx to a browser hiccup, just in case you cant read it..
            This is a great website and im looking forward to be a part of this gorgeous community. Its going to be fantastic over the upcoming months.

    • http://Website Hans

      How contradictory of you, Mr. Ben. You talk about customization and making a phone a reflection of yourself; yet you mention a phone that uses one of the least customizable OSs out there. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about and are just spouting absurdities out of your….yeah. :)

  • http://Website Adam

    This is why carriers love Android and honestly I think it’s fine because most Android enthusiasts will know better than to buy a device running Sprint ID. This is designed for your average consumer who probably doesn’t care so much about software updates.

    I don’t get why so many people complain about fragmentation and blame Google. If it’s so important to you to have the latest software then be smart when you buy your next phone and get something running stock Android or supported by Cyanogen Mod.

    • http://Website Galen

      Yes, except Sprint said this would come to most of their phones. Ugh

  • http://Website JayMonster

    The *answer* to it? Ummmm…. No!

    Actually, I think the whole “fragmentation issue” is much ado about nothing. Intelligent buyers aren’t going to buy “downmarket” phones sporting Android 1.6 (unless they are going to root it and upgrade it themselves). Joe Average Consumer isn’t going to complain that *Android* sucks, but that “this LG Ally” or “that Motorola Citrus” sucks. Especially when they see and hear about people loving their Droid X or other upscale phones.

    Fact is that any OS that lives on more than one phone has (or will have) so called fragmentation sooner or later. WP7 may spec out all devices one way, but that doesn’t mean or guarantee that all of them will be created equal now (or in the future) and when WP8 comes, some devices will inevitalbly be “left behind” because they simply will not be able to handle the new OS.

    While the iPhone 3G may allegedy get iOS 4, it is actually only getting a subset of the features of the OS not the full thing. Even the 3Gs is barely running the OS.

    But the one thing that *may* be good if something like Sprint ID catches on, is that the bloatware can be offered to the unwashed masses afterwards and maybe (just maybe) then the carriers can leave the base phone alone for those of us that want Android, not some modified, crapified, Sensified or Blurred rendition of it. Just give me Android and leave me be. But if you want to sell your crap to those suckers… er… comsumers that play Farmville by day, and want to load equal crap on their phone, you are free to do so without it affecting me.

  • Detox

    dumb idea

  • http://Website mkrmec

    Yes let’s create more crapware for the masses.. lock down their phones, make them use bing (speaking generaly for all carriers), have custom UIs that phone companies don’t want to update since it’s too much work, etc etc etc… seriously… stop crying about T-mobiles 4G and start adding value to your cell phone service instead of burrying it to the ground with crap.

  • http://Website khush

    Maybe the real reason for fragmentation is the fact that each phone maker feels they need to push out a new phone every week and not work hard to come out with a few good polished ones its like there trying to please everyone with variety but its acutaly hurting the phones more

  • orginn

    I agree with everyone here cept that iphone guy

  • http://Website Addictive

    I don’t like how the the apps from all SprintID’s are still all piled into your app list.

  • Dave K

    Once I got over my fear of rooting my phone and installing a custom ROM, I pretty much gave up caring what any of these OEMs or providers do. I run CyanogenMod 6 on my Sprint HTC Hero, and get much better performance than I was getting when running the original HTC Sense UI. It’s allowed me to push off buying a new phone for several more months.

    So if Sprint or HTC or anyone else wants to put all sorts of software junk on it, it doesn’t really matter. I’ll root the phone, and either uninstall the junk or switch to a custom ROM. As long as the hardware is good.

  • http://Website WallE

    Okay heres my thoughts on all the people bashing it. I work for best buy mobile and ive setup phones that use sprint iD and you can choose a clean install nothing gets installed that you dont want. The iD market is an app just like any other. Its 1. I went through to check the task managers i setup on peoples phones too see if it auto starts. It doesnt. If u want a cheap phone on sprint your stuck with it. But at least sprint is putting the stock android experience on it and not releasing shitty phones with motoblurshit on it. They let you have what most people dont even know is. Honestly the performance on the LG Optimus S was way less laggy then scrolling and such on the droid x. And like the other people said know how to root, buy a high end phone, or get over it. Thats your options. Choose wisely young grasshoppers:)

  • http://Website :-) harry

    This is why I went nexus one. To avoid this sort of junk that the consumer don’t even want. Don’t get me wrong I like some features of all these UI overlays, such as maybe widgets or some apps but most features added by manufactures or carriers go unused!

  • Adam Skinner

    I don’t think that homescreen and app inclusion are what people mean by “Android fragmentation”. That term refers to different versions of the operating system running on disparate hardware.

    Kind of the like PC market is “fragmented”.

  • http://Website Paul Atreides

    Thank the lord they’re leaving my Precious(EVO) alone! However, I’m interested in the idea of companies offering their skins as packs on the Market instead. Just don’t shove this ID stuff down my throat please and thank you.

  • http://Website Richard


  • http://Website KT

    As much as I enjoy Sprint service, pricing and hardware if this goes the route of bloatware and forced UI I’ll just be running custom ROMS on my EVO just as I’m doing now. Thank God for rooting and the XDA Devs.

  • http://Website Mark

    The beauty of an open source OS. It is great until cell phone companies think they can make it better. Delayed updates from the foundational software irrirate consumers greatly. As a developer myself, Sprint needs to seriously consider the approach. Consumer friendly IDs or another marketing spin on how to make more $? We know the answer as it is business. Simply do what the company does well, sell phones plans with the latest phones that can easily upgrade as OS updates are release on the fastest networks! Stick to that as a core and you will be more successful, otherwise we’ll be looking to other providers when our contracts expire.

  • http://Website Gee

    You guys are totally missing the great benefit this brings.

    Sprint ID is nothing more than the default Android launcher with the ID button added in. Attached to it is a “store” of ID packs that uses market available apps/widgets/wallpapers. Everything else is stock Android and you are not required to download any ID packs. If you skip ID altogether and replace the homescreen with LP or ADW, you have a nearly stock Android experience. No more Touchwiz or any other crappy Skin that messes with Android.

    ID IS NOT A SKIN it’s a app that makes it easy for beginners to discover and organize available apps. WITH ID YOU ARE LEFT WITH A NEARLY STOCK BUILD OF ANDROID. How is that not good?

  • http://Website MrGrinch

    only noobs will use this… who doesnt root their phone and put a custom ROM on anyway??? Sprint, even though I think its dumb, I will not leave you.

    • ZRod

      Hate to tell you but 95% of Android users are “noobs.”
      Learning a new UI to 90% of people is as scary as death itself.
      I have yet to see someone disappointed with Android itself. This includes the older 40+ populace. So anything helps, “noob” like or not.

  • http://Website Ltown

    I have an N1 but a lot of my co-workers are rocking the samsung transform with sprintID (company phones). I have played with it quite a bit, and with no ID packs installed it is essentially stock android (except for the lame ID button in the launcher and they disabled live wallpapers for some reason…). They are all noobs to android and NONE of them actually use the ID packs. Most of them have started using ADW or Launcher pro. Still, I would rather have this then blur, touchwiz, sense, or any of that crap.

  • ZRod

    It is not their own custom UI and will not slow down updates.
    It is a separate store but it is not built to replace the stock Android market.
    All it does is let you pick home “themes” for your phone created by 3rd party developers (companies and individuals alike) that arranges widgets, apps, folders, wallpapers, etc for you, but still lets you customize.
    It allows up to 6 themes to be in your phone at once and old ones need to be deleted for new IDs (though you can keep downloaded items).
    There will be a blank slab included by default for those who wish to customize from the ground up.
    How it will work with custom UIs, that I am not sure of, nothing has been said yet on that subject. It is to be put on all new Androids, I am not sure on the Evo subject but I’d be surprised if it does not get it itself, I will check up on that and let you (A&M) know Saturday, Nov 24th.

    I for one think this is great. Less people complaining that the phone is difficult to work with because this does everything for you. That and less people just throwing every app on the screen ala iPhone.

  • http://Website Tristan Thomas

    You know for so long the Apple fan boys have been using “Android fragmentation” as ammo for when ever they want to try and bring down Android.

    As you can clearly see, Android is no longer as fragmented as it once was. However there is still room for improvement. I came across an article that touched point on some of Android fragmentation issues and how they can be overcome. You can read the article here: