The man who spearheaded Sprint’s Android phones with the popular HTC Evo 4G, and Samsung’s upcoming Epic 4G, is leaving the company. Senior VP Kevin Packingham is moving on to run another company near Sprint’s Kansas City headquarters, a spokesperson tells the Wall Street Journal.
The rep wouldn’t reveal where Packingham is headed. Sprint network operations president Steve Elfman and product development vice president Fared Adib will take over the reins in his absence.
Packingham’s departure could pose a problem for Sprint, because it desperately needs someone with similar vision to keep pushing its Android presence forward. When Sprint unveiled the Evo 4G — with its enormous 4.3-inch screen, 1-gigahertz processor, and forward-facing video conferencing camera — it managed to build up a healthy amount of excitement among techies and general consumers alike. Sprint believed it could combat the iPhone 4, and despite a few hardware issues, it’s been selling well enough that the carrier has had trouble keeping it in stock.
With the Epic 4G, he managed to differentiate the device from Samsung’s other Galaxy S Android phones on competing carriers by including a slide-out keyboard, and support for Sprint’s 4G network.
Last month, Sprint’s head of prepaid business, Dan Schulman, also announced that he would leave the company this month. Sprint says the exits aren’t an issue — but in Packingham’s case, it needs to find someone who can help drive its Android strategy as well as he did.