Carriers and handset makers are talking up Android 2.1 updates, but none have delivered one yet. The Verizon Motorola Droid update to Android 2.1 is expected to roll out soon, but many users with first generation phones have several more months of waiting.

Sprint could be the first U.S. carrier to upgrade their first-gen Android phones, when they start pushing out updates in early Q2 2010. Previous guidance from Sprint had estimated a release by 1H 2010 so it looks like the good progress report last month resulted in an earlier date.

The new timeline was tweeted by Sprint and we received the following statement from their communications team:

“Sprint expects to upgrade from Android 1.5 directly to 2.1 by early Q2 of 2010. We are currently working through the options for upgrades with the manufacturing partners. Whether we will push these updates over-the-air or through a tethered PC client will be announced around release date. We are working that out with HTC and Samsung.”Sprint PR

Distribution details of the updates are still being worked out and customers could receive them through a number of channels. The HTC Hero has received several minor OTA updates in the past while some Samsung Moment users were forced to take their phone to a Sprint repair center.

T-Mobile and Verizon are also planning to update their phones to Android 2.1, but we are still waiting to get a specific time frame. A source from BGR said some phones like the CLIQ could get an update in Q1, but Motorola recently set the record straight and announced Q2 2010.