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2/22/2010
09:45 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Sprint Confirms 'Summer' Launch For WiMax Phone

A report that ran late last week suggested that Sprint is preparing to launch a WiMax-equipped phone by the end of June. Sprint confirmed for InformationWeek that it is on target to offer a WiMax device by "summer." That device could be the Android-powered HTC Supersonic.

A report that ran late last week suggested that Sprint is preparing to launch a WiMax-equipped phone by the end of June. Sprint confirmed for InformationWeek that it is on target to offer a WiMax device by "summer." That device could be the Android-powered HTC Supersonic.Forbes ran a piece on February 18 stating a new launch time frame for Sprint's first WiMax phone. Without providing a direct quote from a Sprint source, the Forbes story says that Sprint will launch a WiMax phone be the end of the first half of 2010. That means no later than June 30.

This date is in direct conflict with what Sprint's WiMax network partner, Clear, has told InformationWeek. An executive from Clear told me in no uncertain terms that there would be no WiMax phones until the very end of 2010. I checked with Sprint this morning. A Sprint spokesperson said, "I can ... tell you that we expect it to be available this summer." "Summer" is a little bit less specific than "end of the first half of 2010," and gives Sprint and its partners a lot of leeway in which to launch a device. Even so, this update is good news.

As for the device itself, it's safe to bet that Sprint isn't going to make its first WiMax phone a regular old feature phone. No, it will go all out and launch a full smartphone with awesome specs to knock people's socks off. That device is most likely to be the HTC Supersonic, which was discussed by an insider in January. According to that source, the Supersonic:

  • Codename is "Supersonic" -- a name we've heard at least once before.
  • Feels a lot like you'd expect an Android-powered HD2 to feel thanks to a 4.3-inch non-AMOLED display and a svelte shell. (For reference, the HD2 is 11mm thick, but we don't have exact dimensions here.)
  • It's got a kickstand on the back. This wouldn't be a first for HTC; the Imagio on Verizon has one, for example.
  • Runs Android 2.1 with HTC's Sense UI.
  • Our tipster saw it in white; production devices could be available in different colors, of course, but white seems like it'd be an intriguing choice for a phone of the HD2's size and shape.
  • The phone's software stack is buggy enough right now to suggest that we're not looking at a release any time soon, but we don't have details on the projected launch window.
  • It's fast -- Snapdragon fast, it seems, though our tipster can't confirm the processor under the hood.
None of the above details about the Supersonic have been confirmed by Sprint, HTC, Google or Clear, but they specs don't seem to be unreasonable. Hopefully we'll know in the next few months exactly what this set of companies has up its collective sleeve.

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