Ooh, It's Magic!

You already know Sprint’s holding a shindig in New York on February 7th to announce “Yet another industry first.” You also already know that we’ll be live on the scene bringing you the scoop on whatever they’ve got up their sleeves. You probably also know that if I had a quarter for every time a press event promised “another industry first” I’d be a rich man.

But you don’t know what Sprint’s got in store for us. Nobody outside of Sprint and whoever their partner for the launch is knows. But here’s another guess to chew on in the meantime:

If I had to bet right now, my money would be on a WiMax version of Samsung’s Galaxy Tab Android tablet, possibly that rumored dual-core version with NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 chipset inside. If you’ve read my predictions before, you know that I’m usually wrong, so let’s go ahead and put our collective coins on one of the other rumors instead. But which one? The HTC Pro 7 (Windows Phone 7 device) or a Sprint iPhone 4 or even the launch of SVDO technology enabling simultaneous voice and data over CDMA … or something else entirely?

But just for the sake of argument, here’s where I’m coming from and why:

Sprint iPhone

Nope. Not gonna happen. Just can’t see it happening now, if ever.

BlackBerry Playbook

Already announced as a Sprint device and shown off at CES by RIM.

HP webOS Tablet

HP’s got their own event planned for just two days later in San Francisco. If they let Sprint pre-empt them in launching the next generation of webOS gear, anyone with any interest in the future of the platform should run. That would be a massive PR failure.

HTC Pro 7 / CDMA Windows Phone 7 Device

This one makes a lot of sense, but it’s hard for me to imagine Sprint hauling out David Blaine and making the media gather for a one-off event just to launch a WP7 phone. I’m really high on WP7, actually, but I don’t think “the world’s first CDMA WP7 device!!!” warrants this big of a dog-and-pony show.

3D Android Device

While I’ve seen glasses-free 3D displays that do a pretty good job of making video look excitingly “more than normal,” I’ve only ever see them playing back video clips, not running full-on user interfaces and apps and such. Granted, Sprint and whoever could roll out a device that renders 3D videos and games in three dimensions while leaving the rest of the content in 2D, but just writing that made me feel like a cheap gimmick. It’s hard for me to imagine HTC – the hardware partner being mentioned in the 3D phone rumors – building a gimmicky product just for the sake of rolling out The World’s First 3D Phone!(TM). If and when HTC does 3D, I’m betting (and hoping) they do it reasonably right. Same goes for Samsung or LG or anyone … I just don’t think the time is right for a 3D cellphone.

Of course a 3D phone would totally fit the illusion theme of the invite, party, and David Blaine of honor that Sprint’s drumming up interest in. But, still, I can’t quite get myself to buy into this one.

WiMax Galaxy Tab 2

I’m not sold that this is the answer. But it makes the most sense to me right now. Which is partially why I hope it’s not the answer – I want something whiz-bang awesome out of left field instead!

A dual-core tablet running Android with a WiMax radio would, in fact, be an industry first. Considering that Motorola and Verizon already launched a dual-core tablet running Android with a 4G radio, Sprint would be splitting hairs with the whole “It’s WiMax not LTE” angle, but still, it’d be a first. Sprint loves a hugely theatrical show – witness the insane media event and media lounge they hosted to launch Evo 4G at CTIA last year – and a next-gen tablet on a next-gen network would let them use words like “amazing!” and “fantastic!” in reference to everything from video-conferencing to multiplayer gaming on the go.

Then there’s the fact that Sprint just slashed pricing on the current Galaxy Tab, and the relative lack of mobile industry announcements at CES from both Sprint and Samsung. Plus all of those theories I posited above about why Feb 7th won’t be about this, that, and the other. And I hear all the Android blogs got invited to the David Blaine party.

So by process of elimination I’m sticking with a Galaxy Tab 2 up Sprint’s sleeve come February 7th at 6pm EST. For now. Honestly, I kinda think I’m wrong. Thing is, I’m just not sure what else it could be. You out there, reading this post – you got any bright ideas?