Sprint will release its first-ever handset featuring the open-source Android operating system next month.
The HTC Hero handset will hit stores on Oct. 11 and will run on Sprint's EV-DO Rev. A 3G network. Sprint has priced the phone at about $180 after "a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate." Customers will also have to sign a two-year service agreement with Sprint before purchasing the phone.
Sprint is now the second major U.S. wireless carrier to support a device based on the Android platform. T-Mobile jumped out ahead of the competition last fall when it announced that it would be supporting the first American Android smartphone, the HTC G1. This summer T-Mobile released its second Android smartphone, the HTC myTouch 3G. Both T-Mobile and Sprint are founding members of the Open Handset Alliance, the industry coalition dedicated to promoting the Android platform.
The Android platform, which was developed by Google back in 2007, is a Linux-based open platform for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and some key mobile applications. Google has been promoting the platform as a way to spur innovation in developing mobile applications that will give users the same experience surfing the Web on their phone as they currently have on their desktop computers.
The HTC Hero represents the second major smartphone release for Sprint this year following the release of the Palm Pre in June. Sprint reported having good initial success with the Pre as it sold an estimated 50,000 of the devices during its first weekend on the market. Sales of the Pre were still dwarfed by sales of the Apple iPhone 3GS, however, which sold an estimated 1 million units during the first weekend of its release.
This story, "Sprint's Hero Joins Android Lineup" was originally published by Network World.