Move over, Palm
You'll soon have your choice of high-end smartphones on the Sprint network -- and a choice of networks selling Android phones. The HTC Hero handset will be available through Sprint starting Oct. 11. For a measly $180 and a two-year contract commitment, you'll get 3G high-speed networking, a 5-megapixel camera with auto-zoom, and arguably the most polished Android interface yet.
T-Mobile has been selling Android phones since last fall, and recently launched the spiffy MyTouch phone. The Hero adds an overhauled user interface called HTC Sense that puts social media channels like Twitter, Flickr, and Facebook right at your fingertips. It's slick enough that some intrepid phoneaholics have installed a Sense-like environment on their Apple
The European version of the Hero even supports Adobe
Those Androids are starting to look slick -- and they'll only get better. Google claims it will have at least 18 different models on the market by the end of 2009, and some of them look even more impressive than the Hero. We've known since time immemorial that Sprint would join the bandwagon; I'm left wondering why they waited so long, but at least Sprint is starting its Android support in style.
The Palm Pre's sales haven't exactly impressed, making the Hero look a bit like a Hail Mary from the beleaguered telecom. If Sprint wants Google to save its bacon, it should go all the way and introduce a range of models to cover multiple price points and target markets. Samsung and Motorola
It's a race against time, and a battle fought with unconventional and unproven weapons. Will it be enough to pull Sprint out of the fire, or will Verizon
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares in Google, but he holds no other position in any of the companies discussed here. You can check out Anders' holdings or a concise bio if you like, and The Motley Fool is investors writing for investors.