We stopped by the Sprint office in San Francisco, California on the way to Google I/O and got a demo of a release model of the device with some of its apps–some of which will be updated at or after launch, like the Qik app. Hardware-wise, is pretty much what we saw at CTIA. For those in the Bay Area, San Francisco will be joining Sprint’s 4G coverage, but unfortunately the 4G network isn’t live yet in SF when we got the demo, so we were browsing on Sprint’s 3G speeds, which is still quite good.
The HTC EVO 4G marries the best features from many of HTC’s existing smartphones on the market right now–the industrial design is similar to the HTC Droid Incredible, the kickstand is a carry over from the Verizon Wireless HTC Imagio, the large 4.3-inch capacitive display is borrowed from the HTC HD2, and Android with Sense comes from the HTC Desire. The handset’s winning feature is the 4G network from Sprint, which allows for a great Internet and multimedia experience whether you’re surfing in a browser or streaming high quality YouTube videos.
Also, the device benefits from simultaneous voice and data–a first for Sprint–on the 4G network or while browsing on WiFi. Unfortunately, you’ll have to pick between voice or data while on 3G coverage.
From our initial impressions here, the device can benefit from more pre-bundled services, kind of like the way of T-Mobile’s HTC HD2 with the Blockbuster app, to make use of the speeds of 4G. We’d like to see perhaps an Amazon movie store, or perhaps Blockbuster for a la carte rentals and Netflix for all you can eat streaming. Sprint says they are working with partners for content, and we’ll have to see how content evolves with HTML5 a la the iPhone and iPad or with Flash via Android 2.2, aka Froyo, which promises to have Adobe Flash 10.1 mobile built-in.
Overall, the device feels superb. From the excitement we’ve seen from media and consumers, this one will be a big hit for Sprint for obvious reasons. I think many devices will come close to the HTC EVO 4G for Sprint in the near future–Samsung’s got their Galaxy S–but Sprint’s trump card is the 4G network, and that’s the true sell for this smartphone: the network.
We’ll have a full review coming soon, so stay tuned for additional content.