With CTIA a few shorts week away, rumors are speculating about what Sprint will launch at the trade show. The carrier had launched the HTC EVO 4G as the flagship Android 2.2 smartphone a year ago at the Spring CTIA show, and this year, the Now Network may be getting the Nexus S 4G.
According to Engadget, visiting now.sprint.com/nexus takes you to a landing page which says that the page is currently not ready, but will be ready soon.
When the first Google-branded HTC Nexus One was launched, it was Google’s ambition to launch the smartphone on all networks as a flagship Android device sans any customizations. The phone could be used by developers to test their apps on the latest version of Google’s Android OS and owners could flash different ROMs onto the device for testing. The phone was intended to help spur Android adoption and create a compelling ecosystem. However, the Nexus One was only launched with T-Mobile USA and AT&T; Verizon Wireless opted instead to go with the HTC-made Droid Incredible and Sprint thought it may be redundant to have the HTC-made Nexus One alongside its flagship HTC EVO 4G.
While the Nexus One proved to be popular with developers, it didn’t catch on quite the same way with consumers as the only way to obtain the phone is online via Google’s website. Unfortunately, it means that users cannot test drive the phone before buying.
With its second-generation branded device, Google turned to Samsung. While the company had considered the Sony Ericsson XPERIA Play as the flagship Android 2.3 Gingerbread device, it opted for Samsung with the Nexus S, the second-generation Nexus phone. That device debuted the Gingerbread OS along with features like NFC. However, internally, I thought the phone was a bit of a disappointment considering Google’s goals of spurring Android development and creating a flagship model for other Android phone-makers as the Nexus S launched with a single-core gigahertz CPU when dual-core CPUs were just around the bend. Additionally, the device felt like a minor update to the Galaxy S smartphone, also made by Samsung, and didn’t offer much in terms of competitive advantage other than the removal of Samsung’s TouchWiz UI in favor of a more native Android UI.
That said, pushing the Nexus phone into Sprint’s retail channels may help Google and Samsung with the product. Sprint already dedicates a large portion of its annual Sprint Developer Conference to Android, and U.S.-based developers looking for a low-cost data plan may find contentment with the Now Network with 3G CDMA/EV-DO and now with 4G WiMax.
While Google couldn’t get the original Nexus One onto all four major U.S. carriers, perhaps it will have more success at the second go.