Sprint: Android simply not good enough for us

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CEO Dan Hesse told the National Press Club that Android isn’t “good enough to put the Sprint brand on it,” even though Sprint is one of the thirty-ish companies forming part of Google’s alliance and will crank one out eventually.

This is one of the most astounding public bitchslaps you’re ever likely to see in the tedious and hard-starched world of corporate telecommunications. Sprint worrying that its “brand” would be sullied by Android is going to keep me in chuckles for the rest of the hour.

Sprint: Android not good enough yet [Reuters]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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22 Responses to Sprint: Android simply not good enough for us

  1. Anonymous says:

    Well this just goes to show you that mobile providers vary greatly from region to region: I’m in the Chicago area, and in the last three years before switching to AT&T / iPhone 3G, my Sprint phone dropped exactly 1 call. In three years.

    The service was great and very clear.

    AT&T’s “service” on the other hand, is a complete joke by comparison.

  2. morningstar says:

    To be fair – have you tried Android – I have…

    While integration with Google services is good, the OS is still *lacking* and without polish.

    Until it goes through further revisions I would agree with the spirit of what he says in general.

  3. Trent Hawkins says:

    I think his right eye is trying to escape

  4. mdh says:

    Has anyone else noticed that the latest windows update apparently verifies your copy of windows and no doubt turns you in to the authorities.

    No, turning 30 (or having kids) does that. It’s like – Poof! – You’re the authorities.

  5. acipolone says:

    I’ve been a Sprint customer for nearly (maybe more than?) 10 years now, and this might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for me. Ever since Android was announced, I believed it to be a more realistic endeavor than OpenMoko and the Neo phones. Sprint joined the OHA from early on, however they seems to be releasing everything but an Android-capable phone. Looking at the HTC Touch Pro and the Instinct, it seems as if they’re trying to compete with phones like the G1. However, I vowed to patiently wait. “By the end of the year or maybe Q1 2009,” I kept telling myself.

    But no. Obviously Hesse means “yet”. Obviously Sprint will come around eventually with an Android-capable phone. However, the constant, “Let’s wait and see if it works” mentality that Sprint seems to have adopted is fairly ridiculous. This conservative approach to technology adoption is exactly why Sprint lags behind most other cell phone carriers.

    @Rob Beschizza — If they’re going to do something with XoHM, they need to make a release about it now. There’s too much competition already out that holding back to make a big announcement just seems ridiculous. You don’t want to lose your customer base and then hope to reclaim them; you need to retain the ones that you have.

    After 10 years of being a Sprint customer, though, I’m just frustrated. Is it considered tacky to just e-mail the CEO directly? Last time I e-mail customer service I got something back that looked like an ESL mad-lib.

  6. BJ_Sprint says:

    Hi, my name is BJ DeHut, and I’m a representative for Sprint. We appreciate the discussions that Dan Hesse’s comments have caused, but we believe his words were taken out of context about Android. Here is a statement from James Fisher, a member of Sprint’s communications organization, who was in the room at the National Press Club for Dan Hesse’s speech:

    “I’m in Sprint’s communications organization, and I actually was in the room at the National Press Club for Dan Hesse’s speech. As with any single comment from a speech, it’s important to understand the context. Rather than criticize Google, Sprint is a partner with Google (it’s the default search provider on Sprint phones) and we are a very strong supporter of the Android community as a charter member of the Open Handset Alliance. We are interested in developing an Android-based handset, but we would want to make sure it fully leverages all of the advances of Sprint’s current handsets and the data strength of our wireless network. We have a unique approach to making data use easy, intuitive and simply priced. I think what Dan meant is that, only when we are certain we have fully leveraged all the advantages of Android with the advantages we’re known for, that’s when we’d introduce our Android handset. And as for speculation from anonymous folks about our plans, industry folks always trade gossip, but it’s not always true. ”

    Source: http://www.alleyinsider.com/2008/10/sprint-ceo-disses-google-s-android-phone-wishes-he-had-one-s-/page/1#comment-4905d5d314b9b932003811a4

    If you have any further questions about Dan Hesse’s comments about the Android phone, feel free to email me at BJD@Sprint.com

  7. Anonymous says:

    Sprint… they built a next-gen network from the ground-up… then incompetent management ran it down into the ground. When my contract expires I’m gone.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Here is my theory. This is Sprint’s way of making excuses to shareholders on why they will not have a wildly selling gPhone out by Christmas (as they first reported a few months ago). They chose to partner with Motorola who cannot get product out on time under any circumstances and are now looking at Q2 of 2009 to get out a phone that a million people are going to buy on the first day. They are hemorrhaging subscribers and this is their answer “It’s not our fault, Android is not ready for prime time”…Well I call shenanigans and I hope their shareholder’s do as well. I have been waiting patiently with a phone on it’s last legs for Sprint to come out with a phone. I could wait until Nov. maybe Dec. But I cannot wait until Q2. They just hemorrhaging one more customer

  9. needlemacher says:

    I have to agree with #5 – everywhere that people have been talking about this statement from Hesse, the majority of comments roundly ignore the all-important “yet.” It’s not always a bad thing to *not* be an early-adopter, from a company’s perspective (Sprint was the first US company to bring out 3G across their entire network, and with that came a lot of grousing about the fact that it wasn’t fully ready to take the load of the customer base). He’s merely saying that he wants to make sure it can do everything it needs to before setting it loose on Sprint phones – considering the acidic comments about Sprint, why would he want yet one more thing going wrong to have people hate the company more?

  10. Anonymous says:

    agreed…my money is also not good enough for sprint.

    I’ve been waiting for them to drop an andriod phone, now I don’t need to wait, I’m headed for t-mobile.

  11. Galoot says:

    On a related note, my money is also not good enough for Sprint.

  12. wrybread says:

    Does anyone have a theory about why Sprint said this? I’m guessing they’re threatened by something, but what?

  13. Rob Beschizza says:

    I have three hypotheses!

    1. Hesse’s comment was taken out of context by Reuters.

    2. Sprint’s got something interesting up its sleeve and is seriously no longer on the Android bus. XoHM iPhone shocker!

    3. Sprint just doesn’t want anyone buying Android phones until its own one is out, at which point it will suddenly be good enough.

  14. Anonymous says:

    why would I take my cell phone advice from an alan colmes impersonator?

  15. technogeek says:

    May I point out that “yet” is an important word. They aren’t rejecting Android, just not willing to sell a phone based on the current release. This may be less about branding than about the cost of calls to the support desk.

    Frankly, the 1.0 effect is the main thing keeping me from jumping on the Android bandwagon. On the one side, I could amuse myself for quite some time in writing apps for that platform. On the other, part of the reason I haven’t purchased any other smartphone is distrusting their stability; I’d sorta rather let the lunatic fringe debug it for me before I commit.

  16. retrojoe says:

    I agree with #4. After suffering through a year of Sprint I can say that they probably do not have the resources to handle the deluge customer support calls that will come with the initial release of open source software.

    But Sprint can put whatever spin they’d like to on it. I happily paid the penalties for ending my contract with them early.

  17. syntheticzero says:

    Unbelievable. Android “not good enough”, compared to what? The Samsung Instinct? The HTC Touch? Give me a break. I’m a Sprint customer and I’d been waiting for the Sprint Android phone but I will wait no more — time to switch to T-Mobile.

  18. RedShirt77 says:

    Yeah I am a long time sprint customer and let me just say I don’t trust them to do any more then complete a call and overcharge.

    On a similar evil corporation note.

    Has anyone else noticed that the latest windows update apparently verifies your copy of windows and no doubt turns you in to the authorities.

  19. PatGund says:

    After suffering though several years of Sprint and their insanely bad service, I’d say the turds my neighbors dog leaves in the yard are about good enough for Sprint

  20. OM says:

    …That’s otay. Sprint isn’t good enough for the rest of us either.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Does he have a goggle tan??

  22. Not a Doktor says:

    That man smiles the smile of irony.

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