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Sprint scoops up Sanyo Zio

Sprint becomes the second carrier to offer Sanyo's Zio Android phone. It keeps the design unchanged, but it adds a welcome improvement.

Sprint's Sanyo Zio. Kent German/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO--Sprint added to its Android lineup today three times over, with the announcement of not only the Samsung Transform and the LG Optimus S, but also its own version of the Sanyo Zio. That makes Sprint the second carrier to offer the Zio after Cricket Wireless. The Zio will be available beginning Sunday, October 10 for $99.

Sprint didn't tinker with the Zio's minimalist design. It offers the same thin profile, navigation array and 3.5-inch touch screen. As before, all input is through a virtual keypad and keyboard.

Sprint did, however, make one big improvement on the inside. Unlike Cricket's Zio, the Sprint handset runs on Android 2.1. That's a welcome change. Sprint also added its new Sprint ID interface, which allows customers to customize the home screens. Other features are what you'd expect. You'll find a 3.2-megapixel camera, a video player with 30-frames-per-second playback, Wi-Fi, voice dialing, a music player, a MicroSD card slot, a full HTML browser, stereo Bluetooth, and the usual Google applications. The Zio is 3G, but it does not support Sprint's growing 4G WiMax network.

We'll follow up later today with hands-on photos and video.