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10/27/2008
06:46 PM
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Sprint CEO Says Android 'Not Good Enough' Yet

During a press event, CEO Dan Hesse said Sprint would eventually sell Android phones, but that it needed a bit more time to put the Sprint brand on it.

Sprint users hoping to get their hands on an Android-powered smartphone may have to wait a while.

During a broad speech at the National Press Club on Oct. 24 that touched upon multiple wireless issues, Sprint's CEO Dan Hesse said Google's open-source operating system is currently not "good enough to put the Sprint brand on it."

T-Mobile released the first Android-powered handset last week, and Sprint was widely expected to be the next carrier to have an Android phone relatively soon. Sprint is a member of the Open Handset Alliance, an industry consortium with the goal of spreading Android to multiple devices.

Hesse did not say what exactly wasn't up to par with Android, but he did promise that the third-largest U.S. wireless carrier would sell phones with the open-source operating system "at some time in the future."

Sprint's CEO also addressed the challenges that telecoms face in the midst of the global economic slowdown. Hesse was confident wireless providers would remain fairly stable, particularly in comparison to other businesses.

"We're fortunate to be in the telecommunications industry," Hesse said. "I wouldn't want to be selling cars right now or in the restaurant business or banking."

Wireless operators will be in the best position to succeed during the tough economic times, Hesse said, but customers will be more likely to opt for a cheaper monthly plan. Additionally, as wireless service becomes more of a "staple" than a luxury, Sprint's CEO expects the fierce battle for subscribers to continue.

Hesse sees telecoms with traditional phone service to see declining landline revenues as more customers move toward making the cell phone the primary line. Network equipment providers may have a tough few months as well because companies may postpone capital spending until the economic conditions improve.

Hesse also said he expects the recently-launched WiMax network to cover 140 million potential customers by 2010.

How does Google's Android shape up on T-Mobile's handset? InformationWeek has published an independent analysis on the operating system. Download the report here (registration required).

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