updated 07:55 am EDT, Fri October 29, 2010
Sprint CEO Hesse says iPad a boon, odd on iPhone
Sprint has been reaping the rewards of the iPad even without an official deal, carrier chief Dan Hesse said in an interview that also raised eyebrows over iPhone discussions. The CEO noted that most iPads were Wi-Fi versions and that he had seen a boost to sales of the Sierra Wireless Overdrive. The pocket router is good for getting the iPad online away from home, he told GigaOM. It can connect to either 3G or 4G and share its connection with four other devices, none of which are options with the iPad's built-in 3G.
When the iPhone was mentioned off-hand as not having been linked to Sprint, however, Hesse grew unusually silent on the subject. He both opted out of commenting on the iPhone itself and of commenting on relationships with third parties. Carriers routinely decline talking about deals but don't usually respond so actively to off-hand remarks.
Sprint has only been incidentally linked to the iPhone as most leaks have connected a CDMA version to Verizon, whose twice-as-large customer base has made it a much more obvious target for iPhone expansion. Sprint is nonetheless very friendly to Android, having launched three new models just this month, and as the third-largest network may be an option for Apple to help shut down competition from Google.
The carrier is for now focusing on Android devices, including its flagship HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G, as well as BlackBerry phones like the imminent BlackBerry Style. About 60 percent of all Sprint phones sold are now smartphones, and 45 percent of the core Sprint user base owns one of the more capable handsets. Only its prepaid brands like Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile are still dominated by basic phones, although these too have recently seen Android take hold through the Motorola i1 and Samsung Intercept.