Kansas City, Kan. - Sprint will offer its first smartphone based on Google's open Android operating system on Oct. 11 when HTC's Hero goes on sale in all Sprint distribution channels, including Best Buy, at $179.
The carrier will join T-Mobile in offering 3G Android OS handsets.
Sprint's price is after $50 instant savings and $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year contract for a pricing plan that includes unlimited data. Sprint Everything Data plans with unlimited messaging and data start at $69.99 for a plan that includes 450 minutes of talktime along and unlimited night and weekend calls. A $99.99 Simply Everything plan included includes unlimited data and unlimited voice.
The distribution channels offering the Hero Oct. 11 will include Sprint's telesales operation, Sprint's stores and Best Buy, Sprint's exclusive national retailer.
The HTC Hero features EV-DO Rev. A data speeds, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, 3.2-inch capacitive multitouch touchscreen with pinch-to-zoom capability, fingerprint-resistant coating, GPS, HTML browser and trackball navigation but no hard QWERTY keyboard or dialing keys. It's HTC's first phone with customizable HTC Sense interface, whose seven-panel home screen switches among different home screens, each dedicated to different purposes such as work, socializing and travel. Like other Android phones, it features built-in Google mobile services, including Google Search, Google Maps and YouTube as well as over-the-air downloading of more than 8,000 Android applications.
Other features include 5-megapixel camera, included 2GB MicroSD card, support for 32GB MicroSD cards, visual voice mail, stereo Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR, full-song downloads from the Amazon MP3 store, and IMAP, POP, Gmail, and Exchange Active Sync email capabilities. It also accesses Flickr, Facebook and Twitter and features a 3.5mm headphone jack. It displays Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents and PDFs.
Sprint published a competitive matrix (LINK TO \web\18SPRINTHEROMATRIX09.PDF) to point out why the Hero is better than the competition.