Sprint hints at support for Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry 10, Tizen for 2013

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Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) executives said 90 percent of the carrier's handset launches for the first-half of next year have been finalized. Executives also offered their thoughts on Android, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 and Research In Motion's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry 10.

David Owens, Sprint's vice president of products, said that the company is still waiting on plans for next year from Motorola Mobility, now a unit of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), because of Google's $12.4 billion acquisition of Motorola, which closed in May. 

"Sprint is very interested in watching what happens with Motorola and Google over the next year," Owens said, according to Phone Scoop. "We're still waiting to see how it unfolds. What will Google do with Motorola? Now they're building out their roadmap. What does that look like for Sprint for 2013?"

Google offered little insight about Motorola's future during Google's second-quarter conference call, offering only barebones financial details on the company and a few comments on the company's performance in the quarter. Sprint recently announced it will launch the Motorola Photon Q 4G LTE.

As for RIM's BlackBerry 10, Fared Adib, vice president of Sprint product development, said that "RIM is not dead." But he noted that the company faces challenges as it struggles to hold on to market share and move toward the launch of BlackBerry 10, scheduled for next year. "I would not count RIM out," Owens said. "RIM keeps reinventing itself. BlackBerry 10, as we've looked at it, has some really good characteristics. We're excited to see what it can do."

Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 is slated to be released this fall, and while Sprint remained subdued in its support for the platform, the company also expressed confidence. Sprint's reticence is warranted in some sense, as Owens noted that the carrier's first (and only) Windows Phone, the HTC Arrive, was one of its most-returned phones of recent history. According to AllThingsD, Owens said that many buyers of the Arrive were coming from Android and found Windows Phone's software to be difficult to get used to.

"We think Windows Phone 8 is a solid product that they are bringing to market," he said. "We're interested in watching it unfold over the course of the next year. And we won't be watching from the sidelines. We'll be participating. We may not lead it, but we'll participate."

AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T), T-Mobile USA, Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) and U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) have all voiced support for Windows Phone 8 and plan to launch devices this fall. For Microsoft, getting strong and sustained carrier support (and marketing) for the new version of the platform will be crucial to generating interest among consumers.

Of course, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) next iPhone will be a major priority for Sprint given the four-year, $15.5 billion contract it signed last year with Apple to carry the gadget. But Sprint said it is not beholden to any one market player. Indeed, the carrier is including Linux-based Tizen as a possibility as well.

For more:
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this Phone Scoop article
- see this seperate Phone Scoop article
- see this third Phone Scoop article

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