updated 11:00 pm EDT, Sun May 24, 2009
ATT Android Phone and More
A sweeping set of leaks tonight revealed many of AT&T's planned phone updates for the year, including its first-ever Android phone. The HTC Lancaster (pictured at top) pictured by Engadget should be a variant of the touchscreen Magic with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard, AT&T-native 3G, a 3-megapixel camera and GPS. Importantly, it will also be treated as a flagship device: the carrier intends to have a six-month exclusive on the Lancaster before T-Mobile or other US carriers can use it. A launch is tentatively slated for August 3rd.
The launch ends months of fence-sitting by AT&T, which has said it was "monitoring" Android ever since its launch in October but was one of the last major US carriers to embrace Android, with Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon all either offering or planning to offer Android devices. It also puts Google into greater contention with its frequent partner Apple, as both should have a smartphone OS on AT&T.
Several other high-profile launches are slated for the second half of the year. RIM should have multiple devices available through the provider that should be headlined by the BlackBerry Magnum, an "evolution" of the Bold with a touchscreen as well as a fixed QWERTY keyboard, 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi. It may also be accompanied by the Onyx, a variant of the Curve 8900 with 3G; the Gemini, a budget 2G, 2-megapixel device to be called the Curve 8520; and the Pearl 3G, a variant of the original candybar with both its namesake Internet access and GPS. The new BlackBerries' release windows aren't mentioned.
Other manufacturers' phones are at least partly expected. As promised, the Palm Eos should stand as AT&T's first webOS phone and will ship in the second half of the year as a Centro replacement. HP should make a return to supplying phones through carriers through the iPAQ K3, a fixed QWERTY smartphone using Windows Mobile 6.5, a 2-megapixel camera, 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi. HTC will also provide the Touch Diamond2 and Pro2 under the "Fortress" and "Warhawk" names and should optimize the two with native 3G as well as access to AT&T's one-way Video Share calling. The Warhawk would bow first with a preliminary August 24th ship date while the Fortress would debut sometime in September.
Nokia should have a greater role to play on the network and rounds out the phone introductions with four devices, including a Symbian S60 device. The Mako would use the smartphone-class OS on a QWERTY slider design but using relatively low-end internals with a 2-megapixel camera, 2.4-inch display, 3G and GPS. In turn, the Thresher would be a traditional slider with 3G, a 3.2-megapixel shooter and GPS; the Grouper is the codename for the 6750 Mural flip phone; the Snapper would be a simpler flip phone but would still have 3G, a 2-megapixel camera and GPS. The Mako is theoretically scheduled for June, while the Grouper, Snapper and Thresher will potentially ship in July, August and September respectively.
HTC Fortress (left), Warhawk (right)