Oh hell yes they can!!
First things first though, gotta r00t that beatch!
I honestly was super excited for my android (galaxy s2, you sonofabitch)simply because of all the cool tools you can put on it, one of my favorite being wireless tether and wireshark. Theres a really sweet guide from one of last years 2600 about how to use your android to create a wifi hotspot then grab all information (logins, ccs, messages) sent on your wifi spot. Ill dig it out for you if you'd like so that you can see the level of epicness an android can approach.
As for bruteforcing, pentesting....I'm sure there are apps out there. If nothing else you might be able to run small full size programs on a rooted phone like they do with wireshark. Also a guy i know wrote an app that tells you your current external and internal IP address as well as the name of the network your on.
Link: Shortened cause it's long as phuck
We were also talking about developing an app that scans for IP's on the network, but idk whatever happened to that...I dont think he'll actually getting around to writing it and I haven't started doing any android development so it probably wont happen lol.
Problem is, i've had nothing but trouble rooting my phone so now i just cry myself to sleep at night
I really hope you get it working though, just writing this and remembering that article make me want to take another crack at rooting mine....