Sprint CEO: Google Phone Coming, Will Launch Palm Pre When Ready


What’s next for Sprint Nextel?

Palm’s (PALM) Pre smartphone — due before the end of June — is the most anticipated new Sprint phone. But the company is still working with Google (GOOG) on an Android-based phone, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse assured us today in an interview.

Hesse wouldn’t offer specifics on the Android phone, such as when it would be available. But he suggested it will not be tied to Sprint’s nascent 4G WiMax network, which the company spun into Clearwire (CLWR) late last year.

How about the Palm Pre? Hesse says Sprint (S) has “high expectations” for the gadget, hoping it can please both consumer and business customers. He says it’s still on schedule to launch in the first half of 2009, but that Sprint wants to make sure they really got it right before they launch it.

We — and Palm’s shareholders, who are counting on the Pre to rejuvenate the company — hope that doesn’t mean it’ll face any meaningful delays. Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone 3G and RIM’s (RIMM) BlackBerry Storm both suffered launch bugs that would have best been ironed out before the gadgets went on sale.

Sprint shares are up 27% today after the company announced Q4 results this morning that suggested Hesse’s turnaround plan may be working.