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May 14, 2012

Sprint Launches HTC Evo 4G LTE Phone in Test Markets

Sprint plans to expand its nationwide network to include 123 billion customers this year and 250 million customers by 2013. The carrier is launching its HTC Evo 4G LTE Android smartphone in select locations that will be the first to see network expansion.

Sprint’s “flagship” phone, the Evo is actually Sprint’s second LTE device; the LG Viper was its first. According to Sprint, the smartphone rollout is segmented to Sprint’s most valuable customer bases. “They were selected based on the size of our customer base in each market and the relative benefit to those customers and to Sprint,” a Sprint spokesperson told Mashable.com.

Mashable pointed out, however, that the parallels between Sprint’s rollout of its network and its phone rollout are too obvious to ignore. For example, Sprint has already said that Georgia, Texas, Missouri and Baltimore will have LTE by mid-year. Those locations are among the first markets to have access to the Evo phone.

Other rollout locations include New York City, Northern California, Miami, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado and the Washington, D.C. metro area.

Reviewers like Gizmodo have praised the Evo so far, comparing it to the One X that HTC developed for AT&T. The phone has a flawless 4.7-inch Super LCD2 display and a Snapdragon 4 processor. The device also has a physical camera button and a thin kickstand on its back that props the phone up at a 45-degree angle on most surfaces.

Although the phone is sturdy, it doesn’t have the same beautiful design as the One X. The back of the device is both aluminum and plastic, which gives the phone a disjointed appearance. The Evo’s greatest problem, however, is reception. Reviewers noted that over 3G/CDMA networks in the New York area, they were only able to download data at 0.5 Mbps. The One X, by contrast, downloads at 20 Mbps.

Additionally, the phone has difficulty locking onto a 3G signal. Users complain that the phone constantly thinks that it’s roaming and that text messages sometimes didn’t arrive until hours later. The phone may also stutter during gaming.

Evo is NFC-equipped and comes with Google Wallet as a standard part of the installation package. The call quality, when the signal was working, was excellent, and the HD Voice is of high quality.

Overall, reviewers recommended waiting until Sprint has its LTE coverage up and running to see if the phone can improve its signal acquisition. The device will be available in Sprint stores at 8:00 a.m. on May 18.

Edited by Braden Becker

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