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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Sprint announces 3 new Android phones

Following right behind AT&T's trio-announcement, Sprint has just unveiled their latest Android offerings. Today they announced the LG Optimus S, Samsung Transform, and Sanyo Zio. All three are budget-minded devices that don't include 4G service (and higher prices). All three will go on sale this month and all will be cheap (after a pricey $100 rebate on each).

First up is the LG Optimus S. This little device sports a 3.2" screen, 3MP camera, and runs a very slightly modified version of Android 2.2, Froyo. This makes it the only one of the three that will launch with Froyo. The Optimus S is a "with Google" device and includes all your favorite Google apps. It will cost just $49 on contract.

Next is the Samsung Transform, a QWERTY-slider device that features a 3.5" screen, and a 3MP camera. It very likely runs some type of Samsung skin on top of Android, but exactly what that looks like is unknown. The Transform launches with Android 2.1, Eclair, but Samsung and Sprint promise an update by the end of the year. It will cost $149 on contract.

Finally, there's the inexpensive Sanyo Zio. This little device features a 3.5" screen and a 3MP camera. Specs such as processor speed and whether it runs a custom skin or not are unknown. The Zio runs Android 2.1, Eclair, with an update coming by the end of the year. It will cost $99 on contract.

In addition, all of these devices feature Sprint's new Sprint ID service, which allows for further personalization of devices. Customers can download up to five IDs and switch between them easily. Different IDs include different sets of apps, wallpaper, widgets, etc. Some examples were having a work ID, games ID, movies ID, etc. Sprint has several big names creating IDs, including ESPN, Disney, Yahoo, eBay, E!, Amazon, etc. The way IDs will be distributed/sold are still unknown, as is whether IDs will work on existing Sprint devices like the Epic or Evo. [via and Android Central and Sprint]

Choices are always good, so it's good to see more Android options for Sprint customers. It's also great to see some inexpensive options. These will be very attractive for people who are upgrading from a dumbphone, or have never owned a smartphone before. The one worry is that the devices won't be updated. Carriers have a long history of not updating their low-end devices, so with three new ones, it's easy to see at least one getting left behind in the coming months. I hope not, but it wouldn't surprise me.

The Sprint ID service sounds vaguely interesting. If the IDs provide some cool content and apps, then it could be really great and provide easy customization for people who are less comfortable tweaking their devices themselves. I just hope Sprint doesn't decide to charge 99 cents for each ID or something like that, though they probably will.

There are so many new Android phones being announced lately I'm having a hard time keeping up. These all seem pretty average. I appreciate that at least one of them has a physical keyboard, instead of the typical slate design everyone seems to be in love with lately.

I'm not sure if I really get what the ID thing is. At first I thought it meant you could have different accounts you could switch between, like different email accounts or something. But I'm thinking that's not quite right. I don't understand what it's actually supposed to be, but I guess we'll find out sooner or later. And, it sounds like it's totally optional, so you don't need to worry about it if you don't want to.

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