Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse introduced the HTC Evo 4G, which he called the country's 4G smartphone, during a high-profile presentation at the CTIA Wireless 2010 conference in Las Vegas on March 23. Running Google Android 2.1 and boasting a 1GHz Snapdragon processor and 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen, Sprint is betting that users interested in using their smartphone for intensive multimedia will be attracted to the device. Having recorded fairly substantial customer erosion and financial losses over the past few quarters, Sprint is investing heavily in a 4G network that it sees as the way of the future.
LAS VEGAS-Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse
announced a 4G-capable smartphone, the HTC
Evo 4G, during a high-profile presentation at the CTIA Wireless 2010 conference
on March 23. Boasting that it would take multimedia to "a whole new level," Hesse
demonstrated the device, which boasts a 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen and
the Google Android 2.1 operating system, for media and analysts.
The HTC Evo 4G will apparently make its
debut during the summer. "It's a fast device with a 1GHz Snapdragon processor,"
Hesse told the audience. "It's a terrific smartphone,
even in 3G markets." The device incorporates two cameras: an 8-megapixel module
with auto-focus and an HD-capable camcorder, and a front-facing 1.3-megapixel
Hesse then introduced Peter Chou, CEO
of HTC, who explained that HTC
and Sprint had been working on the project hand-in-hand with Google since May
2008 to deliver what he described as "the world's first fully integrated 4G
Chou continued: "I think the Evo 4G gives a clear indicator of how mobile
broadband experience is starting to move beyond the fixed-line broadband
experience by what it offers in terms of local and personal relevance." The HTC
Evo 4G plays into that as a "holistic video and multimedia experience. As you
know, the mobile video experience hasn't been really embraced yet due to
network speed limitations."
As with other smartphones making their debut at CTIA, including the Samsung
Galaxy S, the HTC Evo 4G will include a
substantial social-networking element, aggregating content from a variety of
services such as Twitter, Facebook and Flickr into a continually updated
"flow." Unlike some smartphones being shown at the conference, including
Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 Series devices, the HTC
Evo 4G will apparently provide Adobe Flash support.
Sprint made a limited number of HTC Evo
4G devices available to analysts and members of the press following the
executive presentations. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the smartphones feel and operate
very much like the Nexus One and HTC Droid
Sprint 4G capability is currently available in 27 markets, with plans to
expand into Houston, Boston,
Washington, D.C., New
York City and San Francisco
by the end of 2010.
has been working to ease its subscriber loss over the past few quarters, an
effort helped by its recent acquisition of Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.
On Feb. 10, the company reported that it had lost a net 148,000 subscribers
during the fourth quarter of 2009, better than the 545,000 who apparently left
the network during the third quarter.
At the same time, the company has also been working to narrow its financial
losses, which totaled $980 million for the fourth quarter-an improvement,
nonetheless, over the $1.6 billion that had been lost during the same quarter a
With that sort of financial pressure bearing down, Sprint has been gambling
that users will be drawn to the prospect of a 4G network, with plans to invest
an addition $1 billion into Clearwire's WiMax 4G technology. Intel, Comcast,
Time Warner and Bright House Networks have plans to contribute another $500
million to that effort.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.