updated 04:00 pm EDT, Tue March 22, 2011
HTC Evo View 4G official and tested by us
Sprint's other major introduction on Tuesday was the HTC Evo View 4G, its adaptation of the Flyer. The new version gets a speed boost through WiMAX and uses it for Blockbuster video downloads, YouTube HD, and two-way video chat from the front camera. It has the same slim, aluminum unibody design but with an all-gray back and the signature red trim from other Evos, down to the inside components.
The design continues to use a 1.5GHz, single-core Snapdragon and has the same 1GB of RAM and 4GB of built-in storage, along with microSDHC. Android 2.3 comes preloaded and has a tablet-optimized version of HTC's Sense interface optimized for the seven-inch, 1024x600 screen, including landscape views for e-mail, Facebook, media apps, and even the capacitive buttons at the edge of the screen. Its trademark feature is Scribe, a pen system that works with capacitive touch and can be used for handwritten notes (including Evernote) and drawing; it can recognize a palm and prevent accidental input.
Android 3.0 is coming later on, Sprint told us. Kobo's e-book apps is preloaded and has an iBooks-style page curl effect.
Sprint hasn't supplied pricing and, like the Evo 3D, isn't shipping it until the summer.
We'd only had a limited opportunity to see the Flyer before the Sprint event and the Evo View 4G transformation, but we mostly like what we see. Sense has been adapted fairly well to tablet size and has an at times iPad-like experience. We like that you can launch some common apps directly from the lock screen by dragging them into the "ring" you would otherwise use to unlock the phone. There's a certain amount of wasted space from the cosmetics HTC uses, though, and the 3D carousel can move a bit too quickly if you're not careful.
Performance is adequate, but we noticed that it was noticeably slower than the Evo 3D just feet away. We suspect the Flyer design might not be ideal for WiMAX: we were getting half signal on the 4G where the Evo 3D was nearly full, and while acceptable, it took considerably longer to load our own website and a few others. Most other transitions and actions are still relatively smooth.
The Evo View 4G's real concerns right now are its competitors. Just on Sprint, HTC will have to compete with the BlackBerry PlayBook, which while missing some software elements will also be much faster. There's also the underlying worry about the iPad 2 effect. It's not as portable, but it's faster and higher resolution. If Sprint can't price its Android tablet significantly below the 3G iPad, it will have a hard time persuading users to pick one up, even with 4G as a lure.