As expected, yesterday at CTIA 2010 in Las Vegas, Sprint unveiled their new 4G phone. In early 2008, the carrier teamed up with Clearwire, Google, and a few other major cable and tech companies to begin building a 4G network. At first, the faster network was available for wireless Internet access through laptop cards, and was first launched in 25 major markets, with plans to continue expanding nationwide. Sprint is the first carrier to actually launch its 4G network for consumer use—Verizon and AT&T are still testing theirs, and should be unveiling their networks later this year, or early next. Now Sprint can claim another first—the first 4G handset commercially available from a major U.S. wireless carrier. Made by HTC, it’s called the Evo 4G.
According to several sources, 4G technology can provide download and upload speeds that are up to ten times faster than 3G. The key words there are up to. Those figures were obtained during testing, which oftentimes takes place in optimal conditions, not real world situations. It will still be a lot faster, but probably not consistently ten times faster.
The Evo itself (which I would guess is short for evolutionary) comes packed with some pretty hot features. It uses the Android 2.1 operating system, and offers the HTC Sense user interface, and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display. Yes. 4.3 inches. The iPhone’s display measures 3.5 inches, and the Motorola Droid’s is 3.7, just for comparison. The Evo has two, count ‘em—two!—cameras. One is a 1.3-megapixel, front facing camera for video calling, and to take advantage of video-based social networking applications. The other is a rear facing 8-megapixel camera, which includes a flash, and can also record video.
The Evo 4G runs on a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, and offers 1GB of internal memory, as well as a microSD card slot that accepts cards up to 32GB. There’s an HDMI out port for television connection, a WiMax radio, BlueTooth capability, GPS with Sprint Navigation, and a digital compass. Possibly most interesting, the Evo can act as a mobile hotspot, and will connect up to eight, count ‘em—eight!—Wi-Fi-enabled devices at once.
Being an Android-powered device, it also comes with a host of Google applications, including Gmail, Google Voice, Google Talk, Google Maps, and YouTube, and at least 30,000 more applications are available via Android Market.
Sprint says the Evo 4G will be available this summer, but has not stated an exact date, or provided any pricing information. More to come.
Photo courtesy PCWorld