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Carrier may tap Mot phone for Android debut

Jul 27, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse revealed that Sprint will field an Android phone this year, and that the carrier was leaning toward Motorola's first Android phone, says eWEEK. Meanwhile, the “Donut” build of Android has been seen on several HTC G1 phones, offering universal search and CDMA support, says another eWEEK story.

Sprint CEO Dan Hesse revealed his company's intentions for Android at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference on July 24, writes Michelle Maisto in eWEEK, citing multiple sources. A Reuters story noted that Hesse said he was considering using Motorola's upcoming Android contender, according to Maisto.

Financially troubled Motorola announced last fall that it was discontinuing its native Linux platform for smartphones and was focusing instead on Android. Its first Android phone is due in the fourth quarter, says Motorola.

Sprint's Hesse was quoted as saying that it was still too early to say if the Linux-based Palm Pre, for which Sprint has an exclusive contract till the end of the year, is a success. Although early sales have been strong, Hesse is apparently not willing to celebrate quite yet, stating, "You won't know if we have a real hit on our hands until it's been out three months, four months, five months."

According to CNET, meanwhile, Sprint may have chosen the Palm Pre instead of Android because the first version of Android was immature, writes Maisto. Hesse was said to have referred to the new Android 1.5 release, which is available with the new HTC-manufactured, T-Mobile-accessorized MyTouch 3G (pictured at right), as being much improved. Hesse noted that, "The reviews say now it's ready for prime time. It wasn't when it first came out," according to the story.

Donut rolls toward Android 2.0

In early June, some six weeks after the Android 1.5 "Cupcake" release, Google gave a preview of its follow-up build, "Donut," which is touted as forming the basis for the upcoming Android 2.0 release. Now, according to a Clint Boulton piece in eWEEK, several technology sites have reported seeing early versions of Donut on the original T-Mobile/HTC G1 phones. As Boulton reports, Donut is "not actually Android 2.0, but a sort of mashup of development features" pointing to an Android 2.0 release.

In its earlier preview, Donut was said by Google to offer its universal search engine, letting users hunt through contacts, calendars, music, and other content simultaneously, both locally on the device and online. Donut was also previewed as offering text-to-speech and speech-to-text capabilities provided via an API that provides access to Google Voice Search.

Several sites have now displayed images of Donut, including several from The BoyGenius Report. Its image on the right, for example, appears to show a button for a gestures feature, highlighted in orange. Google had previously mentioned a "handwriting gestures" capability as being part of Donut, as well as a port of Google Translate.

There was no sign in any of the blog reports of multi-touch support, although The BoyGenius Report appears to confirm the widely held view that this will be part of Android 2.0. In fact, Google could well be saving multi-touch to add a bit of oomph to the final 2.0 release later this year.

CDMA supports paves way for Sprint, Verizon

Engadget spotted some glimmers of CDMA support in Donut, according to Boulton. Such support would be required for Sprint or Verizon to offer Android phones. Engadget was also said to have noticed a "cool 5-in-1 bank of toggle switches in a home screen widget that can be used to control common features like Bluetooth and WiFi," according to Boulton. 

Phandroid, meanwhile, found new VPN support, automated backups and performance tweaking in the early Donut build, according to Boulton. Other sites were said to have seen functions designed to support widgets and other UI features available on the MyTouch 3G phone, which is due to ship on Aug. 5.


Michelle Maisto's story about Sprint's Android plans may be found here. Clint Boulton's eWEEK story on Donut, with links to various reporting sites, should be here. The BoyGenius Report story, complete with screenshots like the one farther above, should be here.

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