updated 09:20 am EDT, Thu August 20, 2009
HTC Lancaster Fate Unknown
AT&T might axe its first Android phone before it has even been released, Taiwanese sources claimed today. The HTC Lancaster was originally slated for a summer launch but is now reported by DigiTimes as having been delayed or even facing cancellation altogether as it still hasn't passed AT&T's validation process to ready the phone for use. No explanation has been given as to the nature of the issue, including whether hardware or software is to blame.
The Lancaster is now assumed to be at least one of the reasons behind HTC's warnings last month that it had been hurt by delays of unspecified phone models. It may also result in a fundamental change in HTC's approach to launching future Android devices, though what this would involve isn't evident.
Besides hurting HTC, a delay of the sort is likely to hurt Google, which has been counting on a major expansion of Android phones in the second half of 2009. It would give largely unfettered reign to the iPhone 3GS until at least October as one of AT&T's highest-end touchscreen smartphones and would also keep the Android market primarily to T-Mobile, whose myTouch 3G and older G1 are so far the only options in the US and some of the few iPhone-class challengers.
The Lancaster if it releases is rumored to be treated like a flagship for AT&T and would have a half-year exclusive; it would be a relative of the touchscreen Hero that would carry a lower-resolution 3-megapixel camera but get a slide-out QWERTY keyboard in addition to now commonplace features like 3G, GPS and Wi-Fi. [images via Engadget]