HTC Evo Shift 4G Now Available at Sprint for $150 with Contract

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2011-01-10 Print this article Print

Got keypad? Sprint customers now have a choice of the HTC Evo Shift 4G, with its slide-out QWERTY keypad and Android 2.2, or the original HTC Evo 4G.

The HTC Evo Shift 4G is now officially available on the Sprint network.


Like its keyboard-less sibling, the Evo 4G-which, with the Samsung Epic 4G, has helped Sprint to post some of its best quarters, of late-the Evo Shift 4G runs Google's Android 2.2 operating system and is capable of cruising on Sprint's 4G WiMax network.


In addition to that slide-out four-row keypad, the Evo Shift 4G features a 3.6-inch touch-screen, HTC's Sense user interface, an 800MHz Qualcomm processor (the higher-priced Evo 4G runs a 1GHz SnapDragon), is WiFi-enabled and can act as a 3G/4G mobile hotspot for connecting up to eight devices.


The camera, which can record HD video at 720p, is 5 megapixels, and there's GPS navigation, Stereo Bluetooth connectivity, an MP3 player, and the ability to download, view, edit and share HD-quality content. Additional entertainment features include an Amazon Kindle reader, the ability to watch movies, plus Sprint applications for Sprint TV, and, on the social-networking front, Friend Stream, which integrates Facebook, Twitter and other sites for faster catching up.


Google mobile services-such as Google Talk and Gmail-are on board, and so is support for corporate and personal e-mail, various types of messaging and visual voicemail. In all its glory-that is, with the keypad slid out-the Evo Shift 4G measures 4.6 by 0.6 by 3.6 inches. With a new two-year contract, and after $100 mail-in rebate, it's priced at $150. (The Evo 4G, under the same conditions, is $200.)


Sprint officially announced that the Evo Shift 4G was headed its way Jan. 4, along with the introduction of the MiFi 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot, bringing the carrier's 4G-enabled device tally to 17. 


"Our proven leadership as a 4G pioneer has allowed our customers to enjoy 4G from Sprint first, and these new products exemplify Sprint's commitment to put industry-leading performance and capabilities in the hands of our customers," Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said in a statement at the time.


While Sprint was the first U.S. carrier to offer 4G-a lead it wasn't able to fully take advantage of, in part due to shortages of Evo 4G handsets-it now has plenty of company. Or rather, competition.


T-Mobile kicked off its 4G network-based on HSPA+ (Evolved High-Speed Packet Access) technology-in November, with the launch of an ad campaign that also introduced the 4G-running myTouch 4G smartphone.


More worrisome to Sprint, however, may be Verizon Wireless, which flipped the switch on its long-time-coming 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network Dec. 5, covering 38 cities and 60 airports-or reportedly one-third of all Americans. Over the next three years, it plans to extend the service to its entire 3G footprint.


AT&T, meanwhile, is bringing up the rear, planning to complete its rollout of HSPA+ technology, before launching a planned LTE network in 2011.


However, data suggests there may be no hurry. The Nielsen company, in a January survey, found that one in five wireless consumers are not aware of 4G, and of the four who are in-the-know, only two said they understood what it is-a reality that, according to Nielsen, suggests the carriers have "a ways to go" in making their advertising campaigns not just cool but educational.


In a list of predictions for 2011, Yankee Group similarly wrote that 4G, while available, would be a "drop in the ocean" this year, as most Americans still won't be clued in.


"Until customers fully appreciate the link between a new wireless-network technology and the superior user experience it delivers," stated the Yankee report, "their interest in upgrading will naturally be muted."


Michelle Maisto has been covering the enterprise mobility space for a decade, beginning with Knowledge Management, Field Force Automation and eCRM, and most recently as the editor-in-chief of Mobile Enterprise magazine. She earned an MFA in nonfiction writing from Columbia University, and in her spare time obsesses about food. Her first book, The Gastronomy of Marriage, if forthcoming from Random House in September 2009.

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