Sprint's Upcoming Phone Lineup: It Has to Do Better than That

by: BlindReason

Call notes on upcoming phones from Sprint (NYSE:S). Wow what a roster of truly mediocre phones. Their Android phones look heavily dominated by HTC which makes phones with great specs but they almost always feel tacky and flimsy (I rarely return gadgets---but I returned the first HTC phone I had).

Sprint needs its own version of a Motorola (MOT) Droid, or it needs a large screen Palm (PALM) device, ideally both. If the IPhone is coming to Verizon (NYSE:VZ), there is no reason it can't go to Sprint too.
What is the deal with Sprint handset-wise? Either Verizon out-competes them for exclusivity on these phones or they are just very bad at picking phones. It feels like it was perhaps 5 years ago where Sprint was a monster in getting a great phone line up. Having cruddy handsets just kills subscribers.
This reminds me of that famous Smokey Robinson song about Sprint, "Tears of a Clown: When No Subscribers are Around".
The other big problem is they are the only big carrier going Wimax. Wimax was a fine option 2 years ago when capital was so cheap but when capital goes tight, standards tend to coalesce and I think that's LTE. It's a bit of a difficult spot and I don't think it's a result of bad strategic decisions making, just bad luck. I've heard various stories saying that Sprint has built its network so that if it needs to switch to LTE, it's just a software change (hard to believe given different air interface propagation patterns but whatever).
Please someone from Sprint tell me you have something more than this.

Disclosure: Believe it or not I am Long Common, and Long Puts at the $3 Strike. It's basically a bet that they won't go out of business. Long MOT, GOOG.
Via GearLog:
  • Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android OS updates are coming for the HTC Hero and Samsung Moment. While he didn't specify a version - 1.6 or 2.0 - HTC has previously confirmed that they're working on an Android 2.0 update for the Hero.
  • Combination CDMA/GSM Android phones are also "a possibility but nothing this year."
  • They're considering an Android phone with a built-in MiFi-type router.
  • Android phones will get less expensive "as we see volume across the industry."
  • Lots of HTC and BlackBerry phones coming next year. HTC phones "will be on the Android platform."
  • Sprint will "add Wi-Fi to [the BlackBerry] Tour" and have other Wi-Fi BlackBerries going forward.
  • They're testing Windows Mobile 6.5 updates for the HTC Touch Pro2 and other Windows phones; "plan for early 2010."
  • They want Windows Mobile 7.0 "as soon as possible, but dependent on Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT)."
  • Expect WiMAX phones next year.
  • No tethering for phones that require Everything plans (such as all smartphones) from here on out.