Sprint has had such good luck with the HTC Evo 4G smartphone that it seems to be planning a little-brother follow up, the Evo Shift 4G, Engadget reported Nov. 16. The information, says the tech site, comes from an “established tipster.”
Reportedly also known as the “Knight,” the Boy Genius Report offered details in October, writing that the device has a 3.7-inch display over four rounded soft keys and is expected to launch Jan. 6-the first day of CES (Consumer Electronics Show). There’s also a hinge, thought to lead to a slide-out QWERTY keypad, Engadget adds, as well as a bigger battery than the current Evo.
The HTC Evo 4G and Samsung Epic 4G have been big hits with consumers and helped Sprint, which has struggled behind Verizon and AT&T, to post one of the best churn quarters in its history, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said during the carrier’s earnings call Oct. 27.
“Driven by record customer satisfaction, and the performance of iconic devices like the EVO and Epic, Sprint’s momentum continued this quarter,” Hesse said in a statement on the earnings. “The Sprint brand gained postpaid customers for the fourth consecutive quarter as, for the second consecutive quarter based on porting data, more customers switched to Sprint from our competitors than switched from Sprint to our competitors.”
The Evo and Epic are able to take advantage of Sprint’s 4G network, provided by WiMax producer Clearwire. Sprint was the first of the major U.S. carriers to offer 4G, though component shortages-and so smartphone shortages-in part prevented it from fulling cashing in on this advantage.
“We thought we would have more of a head start than we’ll end up having,” Hesse told the Wall Street Journal in July, as the carrier struggled to fill its shelves with the HTC handset.
The Evo 4G Slide-or the Knight-will arrive with Sprint having lost its 4G distinction. Verizon Wireless plans to roll out its LTE-based 4G network this quarter, covering 38 metropolitan areas and 60 commercial airports by the end of the year, and AT&T will begin rolling out its planned 4G network in early 2011.
Jumping ahead of them both, T-Mobile recently went live with an ad campaign calling itself “America’s largest 4G network,” despite offering HSPA+, a technology it has earlier described as 3.5G, while saying it offered speeds competive with those of early 4G efforts.
Like Sprint, T-Mobile has paired its “4G” with an Android-running smartphone that can take advantage of its advanced speeds, the HTC-made T-Mobile myTouch 4G. The device runs Android 2.2, features front and back cameras, has a 3.8-inch TFT widescreen and WiFi connectivity. Though, as T-Mobile points out in its ad-taking a jab at the Apple iPhone-WiFi isn’t the myTouch 4G’s only option for video calling.
T-Mobile priced the myTouch 4G at $200 after rebate and with a contract, though just a few days later, Target and Wirefly had bumped down their pricing to $80.
So far, the rumor mill has produced no details on the potential pricing of Sprint’s expected Evo 4G Slide.