Sprint plans to roll out a brand-new Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network later this year that replaces its original "4G" WiMax network that it developed with Clearwire. In order to make an impact, Sprint needs smartphones designed for LTE wireless technology. Enter HTC and the revamped Evo 4G LTE, a $199, Android-based device that offers a number of interesting features, including a 4.7-inch LCD display, a snazzy, dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon chip and an 8-megapixel camera. Later this year, Sprint also plans to offer what its calls HD Voice, a cutting-edge voice technology that reduces background noise, with the Evo 4G LTE. Both Sprint and HTC are desperate for a flagship smartphone to compete against both Apple's iPhone and various other devices, such as Samsung's Galaxy line. When HTC released the first Evo, the company positioned it as an "iPhone killer," but the device never caught on in the same way. Will this be time different? By jumping ahead of Apple to get on the 4G bandwagon first, Sprint and HTC are hoping so.
At an April 4 event in New York City, Sprint and HTC rolled out the Evo 4G LTE smartphone. Presales for the device start May 7, although neither company offered a specific release date. The new Evo will cost $199 with a Sprint contract.
HTC is almost trying to overwhelm customers with features. In addition to Android 4, or Ice Cream Sandwich, the smartphone offers a 4.7-inch LCD display, a dual-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon chip and up to 16GB of memory with an microSD card option.
While the display is rather large for a smartphone, the Evo is fairly thin and light. The device measures 5.3 inches long and 2.7 inches wide. It is also 0.35 inches thick and weighs 4.72 ounces.
In addition to Android, the HTC Evo 4G LTE offers the company's own Sense 4 user interface.
Sprint and HTC touted the Evo's new 8-megapixel camera, which executives claimed can take professional-quality pictures. In addition, the camera takes HD video in 1080p. The device also allows users to capture pictures and video at the same time.
For fans or the original Evo, the new model offers the familiar kickstand on the back of the phone. The idea is to allow users to view video and pictures hands-free. HTC also gives it a distinctive red color.
With the new Evo, Sprint is rolling out a new technology called HD Voice, which cuts down on background noise and makes voice calls cleaner. The technology goes live later this year, although the Evo is shipping with dual microphones to help it along.
Both Sprint and HTC are in need of a hit. Sprint needs phones for its new LTE network in order to compete against AT&T and Verizon Wireless, which are already offering LTE phones. In the meantime, HTC finds itself fifth in the U.S. smartphone market, according to comScore.