A mysterious QWERTY Android was spotted last night in an image leaked from the new Sprint Playbook, referred to only as the Express from Sprint. It turns out this is one model we’ve seen before, when we heard about plans to bring it to Orange in the UK as the Orange Barcelona. That’s a lot of carrier-branding; who’s the actual manufacturer behind the phone? Before it was the Barcelona, and long before it will be the Express, this hardware hit the scene as the Huawei Boulder.
While the Boulder comes from Huawei as a Froyo phone, this leaked Sprint information claims the Express will arrive running Gingerbread. Packing a 600MHz CPU, the phone will struggle to deal with more processor-intensive apps, but should have the power it needs to be a convenient messaging phone, especially with that hardware keyboard.
The Express/Boulder has a 2.6-inch QVGA display, 256MB of RAM, and 512MB of flash (feel free to expand storage by adding a microSD card). Besides the OS upgrade, it does look like there will be a few other changes made before the phone lands at Sprint; obviously, Huawei needs to swap-in a CDMA cellular radio, and that battery appears to be getting an upgrade from 1200 to 1500mAh.
Sprint should be starting sales of the Express on November 18, when the phone will be available for only about $20 on-contract.