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Sprint Releases Android Dev Tools

As Android gains support on more carriers, Sprint tries to woo developers to its open source handsets.
With the launch of its Android-powered Hero smartphone right around the corner, Sprint Nextel introduced Tuesday new tools for developers to create mobile applications for the Google-backed operating system.

The wireless carrier added several new additions to its developer Web site that enable content creators to test and create new programs for the Linux-based platform. One of these features is a Sprint developer sandbox, which gives developers access to free network services, as well as core functionality of the device like location, messaging, and geo-location.

Sprint will also be dedicating portions of its upcoming Open Developer Conference to Android, and will offer multiple hands-on sessions about Android development with experts from HTC and Google leading technical sessions.

The Google-backed OS is picking up steam, as Sprint and Verizon Wireless are both expected to have Android devices by the end of the year, and T-Mobile is already offering multiple devices. All of these handsets will be able to download apps from the Android Market, but carriers will try to differentiate themselves by offering carrier-specific programs. For example, Sprint's Android devices will likely come preloaded with the carrier's music and mobile television apps.

The Hero is slated to be released in October, and the touchscreen handset has all the features one would expect from a high-end device including Wi-Fi, 3G, Bluetooth, GPS, and a full HTML browser. The smartphone will come with HTC's Sense software; this layers on a special user interface that provides home-screen access to online information such as Twitter, stocks, and weather forecasts. The Hero will cost $180 after rebates and a new two-year contract.


InformationWeek has published a 360-degree analysis of the first Android-based smartphone. Download the report here (registration required).