Android Powered HTC Hero Coming to Sprint, 10/11/09

Sprint has announced that it will be launching their first Google Android device, the HTC Hero on October 11, 2009.

“The arrival of HTC Hero and the Android platform to Sprint’s network is an important milestone for our customers and the U.S. wireless industry,” said Kevin Packingham, senior vice president of product development for Sprint. “With the dependability and coverage of Sprint’s 3G network, HTC Hero users will appreciate a much better experience than is possible now with any other Android phone operating in the United States. They will enjoy the robust potential to personalize their wireless experience as well as the best value in wireless with a Simply Everything plan from Sprint.”

“Sprint and HTC are helping to drive openness and innovation in the mobile industry with the introduction of the Android-powered HTC Hero,” said Andy Rubin, vice president, mobile platforms at Google. “As the world’s first truly open mobile platform built with the Internet in mind, Android provides to consumers the same Internet services they have become accustomed to on their desktop PC. Offering access to thousands of applications, a suite of Google services, and unique personalization features, the HTC Hero offers a compelling mobile experience.”

The HTC Hero will be an EVDO Rev. A device and will feature built-in synchronization support of Google Search, Google Maps, Gmail, and YouTube as well access to additional applications that are available from the Android Market.

Beginning on Oct. 11, customers will be able to purchase HTC Hero through all Sprint retail channels including Web (www.sprint.com), Telesales (1-800-SPRINT1) and our national retail partner Best Buy for $179.99 (excluding taxes) after a $50 instant savings and a $100 mail-in rebate with a two-year service agreement. Pre-registration begins today at www.sprint.com/hero.

I’ve always liked the looks of HTC’s hardware, and the press photos of the Hero make it look like another cool looking phone. I’m interested to see if the Hero will come bundled with DataViz Documents To Go, my “gotta-have-it” application for smartphones. I’m also wondering how the launch of the Hero will impact sales of the Palm Pre. Echoing the comments about the Pre vs. Hero consumer showdown, I think that Palm best be getting read to get the Pre shipping on more carrier networks besides Sprint and Bell Canada (Big Red, anyone? AT&T?) sooner than later. I personally expect that the Hero and the Pre will be considered by the same group of customers who don’t want an iPhone or a BlackBerry. Worse yet, after rebates, the phones will be similarly priced and have access to many of the same Google features.

[Via GadgetsOnTheGo…]