updated 04:10 pm EDT, Thu August 12, 2010
Sprint loses Evo 4G architect
Sprint suffered a blow today as it confirmed that Senior VP Kevin Packingham was leaving the company as of Monday [sub. required]. The carrier acknowledged he was leaving to lead another company but declined to name the destination. Network ops president Steve Elfman and product development VP Fared Adib will fill in for now.
Packingham's departure may significantly damage Sprint's chances at success in the smartphone arena, as he was responsible for devices that have sparked a rare gain in subscribers after years of declines. He primarily influenced the design of the HTC Evo 4G, whose position as Google's Android phone of choice and its feature set have triggered repeated sellouts that persist to this day, although they have been exaggerated by supply issues.
He will have given the company one final reward in the Samsung Epic 4G, which also has WiMAX and high performance but stands out with a slide-out keyboard and a Super AMOLED screen. The Epic 4G is the only Galaxy S-based phone to have either 4G or a keyboard and, while it costs a $250 premium, may help Sprint prevent customers from jumping to AT&T for the iPhone 4 or Verizon for the Droid 2 and Droid X.
Sprint has had a relative "brain drain" as two executives have left this month, although the company has said it doesn't see the exits as creating a problem.