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Sprint talks future smartphone plans

During a Webcast chat, a Sprint executive outlines some of the upcoming smartphones for the carrier.

On Thursday, Sprint hosted an online chat with its customers and its vice president of consumer marketing, David Owens, who revealed some of the carrier's plans for upcoming smartphones.

During the hour-long session, Owens answered questions on a variety of topics, ranging from service plans to community to, of course, future products. Regarding the latter, Owens said there will be a "robust" lineup of BlackBerry and HTC devices in 2010 and reiterated that a Wi-Fi-enabled BlackBerry Tour, as well as other such-equipped BlackBerrys, are coming.

The HTC smartphones will run on the Google Android platform, though Owens did not expand on features or form factor. He did say that Sprint is working on releasing an over-the-air Android OS update (unclear whether it will be Android 1.6 or 2.0) for the HTC Hero and the Samsung Moment, but it was important for the company to get these smartphones out to the market first.

Also on the topic of Android, Owens did not rule out the possibility of a dual-mode (GSM/CDMA) Android phone or one equipped with a MiFi-type router and said he sees opportunities for price drops as more Android smartphones come to market.

Switching gears to Windows Mobile, there are plans to release a Windows Mobile 6.5 update in early 2010 for the HTC Touch Pro2 and possibly other Windows phones, such as the HTC Touch Diamond, but they are still in the testing phase at this point. However, Owens said Sprint is committed to Windows Mobile, adding that it's an important platform to the carrier and that it wants Windows Mobile 6.5 and 7.0 as soon as possible but that will be dependent on Microsoft.

Some other interesting tidbits from the chat: WiMax phones are definitely in the plan for 2010; Sprint is looking for ways to deploy a next-generation Airave; and there are no current plans to bring back tethering as part of the carrier's Everything Data and Simply Everyting plans. You can find the full transcript of the chat session here.

(Via Gearlog)