The Sprint Evo – Sprint's HTC EVO 4G smartphone – debuted on June 4th as the first combo 3G / 4G smartphone. The Sprint Evo directly competes with AT&T's iPhone 4 and HTC Aria, Verizon's HTC Droid Incredible and Droid ERIS, and T-Mobile's HD2 and the new T-Mobile G2.
The Sprint Evo also faces stiff competition from Verizon's Motorola Droid X as well as the crystal-clear, super lightweight Samsung Galaxy S, which was released on the Sprint Nextel network on August 30th, 2010 as the Sprint Samsung Epic 4G.
The Google Android 2.1-powered — or Android 2.2 via the Evo Froyo update — Sprint HTC EVO 4G sports a large 4.3" screen (compared to the Apple iPhone 4's 3.5" display) with dual cameras (an 8MP with a flash, pus a front-facing, non-flash 1.3MP), a 32GB MicroSD card, and a 1GHz Snapdragon processor.
The Sprint Evo has a built-in 720p HD video camera and HDMI output that make it possible to record and output HD-quality video to your HD-capable TV. The Sprint Evo additionally features a unique kickstand that can be used to prop the phone upright on a table or desk to facilitate viewing video content.
Another feature unique to the Sprint Evo is its ability to serve as a mobile hotspot for up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices — at an additional fee of $30 per month.
The Sprint EVO provides customers with the HTC Sense user interface, which was developed by HTC for Android-powered smartphones. Based on the TouchFLO 3D user interface, HTC Sense is designed to make smartphones work in a more simple and natural way.
On February 16th, 2010, HTC announced an enhanced "HTC Sense experience" for the Sprint Evo and other Android smartphones that includes the HTC Friend Stream widget for seamlessly aggregating social communications from sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into a single organized flow of updates.
And on January 9th, 2011, a new edition of the Sprint Evo debuted. The HTC Sprint EVO Shift is Sprint's 4G version of the HTC Desire Z and sports a slide-out QWERTY keyboard in addition to the Evo's other features.
Upcoming releases of the Sprint HTC EVO are in the works as well, with rumors of a no-glasses-needed Sprint HTC EVO 3D and an Adroid-powered 7-inch Sprint HTC EVO View tablet on the way soon.
The Sprint EVO's increasing popularity has also created a burgeoning market for Evo accessories that allow Sprint EVO users to customize their smartphone with an endless array of EVO case and covers, skins and screen protectors, headsets, adapters, chargers, and more.
For all of its touted features, the Sprint HTC EVO 4G has not been without its share of criticized shortcomings. Customers have complained about the two-way video chat not working, sporadic 4G support with a mandatory $10 "Premium Data" add-on fee (Sprint's WiMAX-based 4G is only available in a little over 30 cities at the moment), and short battery life.
The Sprint Evo has already received one update since its initial release, and Sprint recently delivered another update (HTC System Upgrade 1.47.651.1) for the Sprint EVO 4G on June 29th, 2010 that improves Wi-Fi reception, fixes a Facebook sync issue that can improve battery performance, and addresses issues with Exchange Active Sync email support.
The much-anticipated "Evo Froyo" update (i.e. Android 2.2 "Frozen Yogurt") first debuted on the Sprint Evo before any other smartphone when it started rolling out on August 3rd, 2010.
The Sprint HTC Evo 4G and Sprint HTC Evo Shift 4G smartphones retail for $449.99 but can be purchased for $199.99 after a new customer two-year agreement, instant savings, and a mail-in rebate have been applied.
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