updated 06:35 pm EDT, Wed May 12, 2010
Sprint's Evo 4G to ship just days ahead of iPhone
Sprint tonight firmed up its launch plans for the HTC Evo 4G. The Android flagship will ship June 4th and will cost $200 on a two-year contract after handing in a $100 rebate. Its touted hotspot feature will cost extra, however, and will need an extra $30 per month on top of the existing smartphone plan to share the 3G or 4G connection with eight other devices.
The company also warned that actually using 4G would carry an extra $10 Premium Data add-on in areas with the faster coverage; the requirement boosts the price to $80 per month. Those in 3G areas or who don't want the faster service can use a regular $70 plan.
Sprint's launch comes slightly earlier than expected and appears designed to draw attention just ahead of the reveal of the next iPhone, which most now believe will be made public on June 7th or 8th at WWDC. The HTC phone will have the same price that Apple now normally charges for its smartphone but should both draw even with and claim some advantages over its counterpart. Both may share 720p video capture and playback as well as a front video camera, but the Evo 4G will have both its namesake WiMAX access as well as a larger screen and an 8-megapixel camera.
On 4G, the HTC phone will have an edge as it will have the option of uploading videos to YouTube at 720p.
The Sprint phone is also a milestone for Android as it will be both one of the earliest WiMAX phones with the OS but also the first CDMA Android phone to allow simultaneous voice and data while away from Wi-Fi. EVDO, the most common standard for 3G on CDMA, can't run alongside a CDMA call; WiMAX operates separately and would enable background downloads during a call that iPhone owners and most other GSM-plus-HSPA phones can accomplish today.
To back its claims, Sprint has gone so far as to make a video comparing not only the Evo 4G's performance to an iPhone's 3G but to note the Evo 4G would be a faster alternative for providing mobile Internet access to an iPad than the tablet's own 3G.