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
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.)
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
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
, 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."