HTC Evo 4G LTE Smartphone Coming From Sprint for $199

HTC is updating its Evo smartphone to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, as well as new 4G wireless technology. In the meantime, Sprint is offering HD Voice, which should improve calls.

NEW YORK€”HTC and Sprint are looking to make a big splash on the carrier€™s upcoming Long-Term Evolution (LTE) wireless network with the Evo 4G LTE, a new smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich and offering cutting-edge voice capabilities that hold the promise of cleaner and crisper calls.
Sprint and HTC plan to start selling the new Evo within the next three months. While the two companies offered few specifics about an actual launch date during an April 4 unveiling here, executives said U.S. preorder sales for the $199 device start May 7.
Sprint plans to open up its own 4G LTE network by midyear and move away from its original €œ4G€ WiMax network that it built with Clearwire.Sprint also plans to offer what it calls €œenhanced 3G,€ as well as 4G, in select cities later in 2012.
In addition to offering an LTE smartphone, Sprint plans to include cutting-edge voice technology called HD Voice, a new type of noise-canceling technology that allows for clearer calls with less background interference. Although the new Evo is equipped to support the new voice technology€”the device sports two microphones to reduce noise€”Sprint will not offer its HD Voice service until later this year.
While phone makers and carriers have focused on features such as bigger screens and better cameras, voice technology has been lost in the mix. Sprint estimates that its network will handle 500 billion voice minutes this year, and its customers are looking for better technology to support their person-to-person conversations.
Sprint and HTC are also both looking for a hit smartphone to keep pace with the rest of the wireless industry. While Sprint€™s fortunes have improved in the past year, the carrier still remains third behind Verizon Wireless and AT&T. In the meantime, a recent comScore report placed HTC fifth among smartphones makers in the United States, which puts the company behind the likes of Samsung, LG and Apple.
Speaking at the event, HTC President Jason Mackenzie called the Evo 4G LTE a €œflagship€ device for his company and Sprint. €œWe introduced the first Evo two years ago, and it feels like two decades because there is so much happening in the wireless industry,€ said Mackenzie.
In order to stop Android fragmentation, Mackenzie said the HTC plans to make fewer smartphones with the operating system. When it does introduce a new device, HTC wants to create something a little more unique. €œWe want to make fewer phones but make them better,€ Mackenzie added.
Besides Android 4 and HTC€™s own Sense 4 user interface, the new Evo is loaded with several interesting features, including a 4.7-inch, high-definition LCD screen; a 1.5GHz, dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processor; and 16GB of memory, as well as support for a microSD card.
The Evo 4G LTE measures 5.3 inches long and 2.7 inches wide. It is also 0.35 inches thick and weighs 4.72 ounces. There is an 8-megapixel, rear-facing camera that is capable of taking pictures and capturing video in 1080p high definition.
The smartphone also offers a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
For those familiar with the older versions of the Evo, the familiar kickstand for propping the device up is still there and highlighted in a bold red color. The company has also included Beats audio technology.
Finally, Sprint plans to offer near-field communication (NFC) technology, as well as Google Wallet, with the HTC 4G LTE.