Android This Week: Sprint Does Droid; NOOKColor; HTC

The rapid growth of the Android (s goog) platform has been a good thing for many companies, and Sprint (s s) as much as any. The carrier has ridden the popularity of smartphones such as the Evo 4G and Epic 4G to add 644,000 new subscribers hot to get the phones. This month, the company unveiled the new Sprint ID feature, which is basically a pack of Android apps designed to customize Android phones to fit the customer. The ability for customers to use these Android phones as mobile hotspots allowed Sprint to take advantage of the hot iPad (s aapl) sales, as CEO Dan Hesse told Om Malik in an interview this week.

Book retailer Barnes & Noble (s bks) announced the next iteration of its e-reader this week, the NOOKColor. It may be promoted as an e-reader, but the NOOKColor is essentially an Android tablet complete with touchscreen and apps. The 7-inch e-reader hits the market at only $249, a price that isn’t competitive with the latest Kindle from Amazon (s amzn), but is very competitive with Android tablets. In addition to handling Nook bookstore content, the NOOKColor can play music and video. Who knows? Maybe it will end up competing with the iPad.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab is likely going to be one of the most popular Android tablets when it goes on sale, and it’s going to be sold in a lot of places. Five phone carriers will be selling the Tab in the U.S. alone, along with retailer Best Buy (s bby). All of these outlets will be offering the Galaxy Tab at different prices, and with data plan options that vary in price, as well. Wading through all of the prices and options is a daunting task, so this week we did that for you. Our Galaxy Tab roundup lists all of the places that will sell the tablet, and along with the device prices also breaks down the data plan requirements.

Smartphone maker HTC is the largest producer of Android phones, and this week, announced it expects to ship 8.5 million smartphones next quarter. They won’t all be running Android, as the company’s new line of Windows Phone 7 (s msft) phones will factor into that number, but the lion’s share will be packing Android. HTC’s promotional campaign to bring its brand in front of the consumer has played a successful role in the company’s growth with Android.

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