By Chuong Nguyen | March 30, 2010 2:26 PM
When Sprint and HTC had unveiled the HTC EVO 4G on Sprint’s WiMax network, I really couldn’t believe that the rumored Supersonic is becoming a reality, and I can only describe the experience in three succinct words: love, love love. The Sprint HTC EVO 4G really marries the best HTC elements from other phones from various carriers–from the Nexus One, we have Android 2.1, HTC Sense UI is ported from the HTC Desire, the large 4.3-inch capacitive touchscreen is borrowed from the HTC HD2, HTC brought over the kickstand from the Verizon Wireless Imagio, and the “hidden powerful” element of the colorful back underneath the battery cover is a One & Company design element that has been carried forth from the HTC HD Mini. All these features, when combined with Sprint’s rapidly growing 4G WiMax Now Network, will help Sprint slaughter the competition! The HTC EVO 4G is the phone to beat this summer when the handset gets released.
The closest competitor to the Sprint EVO 4G right now is probably the T-Mobile HTC HD2, with a fast 3G network that gives nearly 10 Mbps download speed. In my experience with Sprint’s 4G network in Las Vegas, Nevada, I found that Sprint’s WiMax network is a bit faster at 12 Mbps.
The real power and where Sprint edges out the competition in terms of robust network usability is in a demo that the company had set up to stream Netflix content over its 4G WiMax network using the HTC EVO 4G as a mobile hotspot. The setup calls for setting up the Roku set-top box that allows Netflix content to be streamed to a television. The Roku box connected via WiFi to the HTC EVO 4G and used the mobile hotspot capability of the handset to tap into Sprint’s 4G network. What’s impressive is that at home, my cable connection stumbled with the Roku, experiencing occasionally stuttering and buffering, whereas Sprint’s WiMax performed seamlessly and without any stops in video playback due to buffering. That’s quite impressive for a wireless connection. For me, we can talk Mbps–10 v. 12–but seeing the power of the Now network being able to handle intensive video playback without a slight hiccup definitely seals the deal.
And where Sprint and HTC wins with the EVO 4G compared to the HD2 is the future. While the HTC HD2 will be stuck in the Windows Mobile 6.5 ecosystem, there is potential for the EVO 4G, perhaps, to be upgraded in the future–neither Sprint nor HTC has announced any OS upgrades for the EVO 4G beyond Android 2.1, but Google and its partners have not been stingy on OS upgrades in the past whereas Microsoft has clearly stated that the HD2 will not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 7 Series when that OS gets rolled out.
It was also called the Supersonic by HTC.
Sprint and HTC also payed close attention to the user with the EVO 4G. The companies have announced that there will be some cool accessories for the EVO 4G. Some silicon rubber cases were present as was a leather holder. However, for those who want custom-fitted accessories, a cool car mount–like that of the HD2–will be available as is a molded hard case that has a built-in battery to give you more juice. This latter option is similar to the iPhone with the Mophie Juice Pack.
Hopefully, other accessory makers will be able to tap into the micro USB connector at the bottom and create an ecosystem of accessories and products custom-fitted for the HTC EVO 4G. The device also has an HDMI output jack at the bottom so you can play your HD content onto a larger television screen.
The EVO 4G Experience
Without being able to let each of you hold and experience the EVO 4G, I can only say that the mobile web experience on the Sprint HTC EVO 4G is nothing short of revolutionary. While the iPhone brought what Apple dubs the “real web experience” to mobile smartphones, HTC and Sprint is bringing desktop-class browsing to the palm of your hands. With WiMax, you will get fast speeds and there literally isn’t any delays in searching the web and getting results. In the demo using Google Goggles–a visual search application for Android–Sprint was able to quickly send a query by snapping a picture of the item in question and instantaneously receive the results without latency or delay. That’s the power of broadband without wires. The large 4.3-inch display, along with forthcoming Adobe Flash 10.1 Mobile support for Android will produce an unparalleled, portable access to mobile broadband. Whereas in the past I carried a smartphone so that it can alert me to emails and messages, in the future with the EVO 4G I can imagine carrying a smartphone so that I can create content with the HD video camera, sharing memories, looking up Google search results, and augmenting my knowledge in reality with a whole database of facts online.
Having experienced 4G, 3G on my iPhone feels like I am operating on EDGE data speeds–I can’t handle it; I’ve been spoiled. Fortunately, Sprint is working pretty aggressively with its WiMax rollout–the 4G protocol is already in 27 markets and 7 new markets were recently announced. Sprint hopes to bring 4G to 120 million people in the United States. Best of all, I can use my EVO 4G as a broadband mobile hotspot to boost my iPhone’s speed when 4G hits San Francisco, California.
Sprint has created a true experience with the EVO 4G. Apps, software, hardware, and the network all work seamlessly together to do what you want your phone to do.
With the EVO 4G, Sprint had partnered with HTC and is flexing its muscles to show us the direction where the carrier wants to go, and we’re happy with what we’ve seen. And from what we’ve seen, until Verizon Wireless and AT&T rolls out their 4G networks, the Sprint EVO 4G will be a touch act to follow.