AT&T Preparing Its Android Assault?

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AT&T has been noticeably silent about its plans to ship smartphones running Google’s Android platform, but leaked documents and industry reports have the carrier getting ready to launch its first Android device—the HTC Lancaster—in August, with a Motorola device (the Heron, also known as Iron Man) lined up for the end-of-year holiday buying season.

Although neither AT&T nor HTC have confirmed the reports, the HTC Lancaster will feature a slide-out QWERTY keypad, with a form factor that resembles the HTC Touch Pro when opened, and an HTC Magic when closed. The Lancaster features a 3 megapixel camera, 850/1900MHz dual-band HSPA and tri-band EDGE connectivity, assisted GPS, Bluetooth 2.0, microSD storage, and a 2.8-inch 320 by 240 pixel display. The Lancaster will likely be marketed under a different name once it hits AT&T’s retail channel, and reports have the carrier locking in a six-month window of exclusivity for the device. There is no information available on whether the device supports Wi-Fi (although it seems like a good bet), and the device will feature a proprietary AT&T branded interface. AT&T hasn’t announced the phone or pricing information, but reports have it landing at retail August 3.

In the meantime, AT&T also looks to be preparing the Motorola Heron (also known as "Iron Man") for a holiday launch. The Android phone features a 2.8-inch display, a QWERTY keypad that slides out of the bottom of the handset, microSD storage, quad-band GSM, HSPA, and EDGE connectivity, GPS support, plus unique location-based and social networking services. Again, no word on pricing, but reports have AT&T eying an early November launch.

Although neither phone seems to have ground-breaking specs—and will undoubtedly be laboring in the shadow of whatever iPhone revision Apple has up its sleeve—the Android handsets should help AT&T compete with T-Mobile on the Android front, as well as keep the pressure on Verizon in the event AT&T loses its exclusive lock on the iPhone.

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