updated 05:05 pm EDT, Tue March 23, 2010
Evo 4G packs 1.3MP front camera, WiMAX
After building up attention, Sprint today launched the Evo 4G as its new halo phone. Previously nicknamed the Supersonic, the Android 2.1 range leader represents the first 4G phone in the US and should use the 3-6Mbps WiMAX speeds for features that aren't as practical on 3G. It carries a front 1.3-megapixel camera for video chat and can record 720p video that it can upload.
The smartphone is a very close cousin of the HD2 and uses a 4.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen as well as a 1GHz Snapdragon processor. It can play 720p video at native resolution through an HDMI output, and an 8-megapixel camera at the back handles both sharper stills and HD movie capture. HTC's Android 2.1-era Sense UI is onboard for software, along with a browser that's been "optimized" for the 800x480 resolution and carries both Flash and multi-touch.
Sprint expects to ship the Evo 4G sometime during the summer and will have pricing closer to that date, though the feature set hints at a price above $200 on a contract.
The new device could be critical to driving 4G adoption at Sprint, whose choice of WiMAX will make it an exception where AT&T, Verizon and others are using the more widespread LTE format. It has also needed a true flagship phone following lackluster sales of the Palm Pre from last year.