Not Verizon: HTC Dragon/Passion is a GSM Android phone

Noah Kravitz
 from  Oakland, CA
| October 25, 2009

Well, that didn't take long. 

Looks like HTC's forthcoming "Dragon," or "Passion," Android phone isn't headed to Verizon, after all. So far as I can tell, the device will pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor and will be released before the end of the year, but won't be headed to Big Red. Or any other CDMA carrier.

No, friends, this Passion(ate) Dragon will run on GSM.

How do I know? Some careful consideration of the clues pointed the way. Let's check out the status bars of the leaked Dragon photos and a few recent HTC Android phones, shall we?

First, the status bar of the Sprint CDMA Hero.  Notice the EV-DO and Battery status icons.


Next, the status bar of the unlocked GSM Hero.  Notice the 3G and Battery status icons.  Compare them to the CDMA version above. 

gsm hero status bar

Different, no? The CDMA version has an "Ev" (EV-DO) indicator and a curved-graph look to the battery status icon. The GSM variant has an H (for HSPA) and a squared-off battery meter.

Now look at the leaked photo (via theunlockr) and screengrab (via DroidDog) of what's said to be the Dragon/Passion:

dragon leak status bar

dragon grab status bar

(My horrible circle-and-caption highlighting job aside, I didn't alter these images in anyway via Photoshop.)

The "Dragon" photos? They look like GSM, and not CDMA, devices to me. The battery icon is the tip-off: Dragon's is a squared-off bar graph like the GSM Hero, and not the curved graph like Sprint's CDMA Hero. Even with the white status bar background in the leaked Dragon photo, you've still got the squared off graph.

Looks to me like everyone, me included, was wrong in thinking Dragon/Passion is headed to Verizon, since Big Red doesn't do GSM. My sources tell me this device is still slated for a Q4 2009 launch, however. Which leaves one big question unanswered: Who's getting the Passion(ate) Dragon for Xmas this year? Unlocked GSM? European carrier? AT&T or T-Mobile in the US?

Got a tip? Let me know!