Monday, June 7, 2010

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Sprint officially launched the HTC EVO 4G smartphone on Friday with some interesting social tweaks, although users had already reported at least one bug with the phone's software.

The Sprint EVO 4G phone goes on sale today at Sprint stores for $199 after a $100 mail-in-rebate, new contract, and premium data plan. Wal-mart and Best Buy, at press time, said the two retailers would waive the need to mail in the rebate, offering the phone for a register price of $199.

Sprint's HTC EVO 4G customers can pay $69.99 for Sprint's Everything Data 450 plan, plus the $10 Premium Data add-on, totaling just $79.99 per month for unlimited Web, texting and calling. An optional charge of just $29.99 per month turns on HTC EVO 4G's mobile hotspot, allowing users to connect their laptop via Wi-Fi. But there will also be an additional $4.99 per month subscription fee will apply for a new range of advanced premium features, Sprint said, including unlimited video archiving, downloading files to a computer, and Video Mail.

The Sprint EVO 4G has already won a Editor's Choice award, which characterized the phone as a "big, beautiful, and powerful window to the world", capped off by its 800-by-480 TFT LCD capacitive touch screen spread across 4.3 diagonal inches of screen real estate. The "4G" designation refers to the phone's capability to pick up WiMAX signals, which Sprint provides to 33 markets, but aren't available in areas including major metropolitan markets like the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York city metropolitan area.

"4G let me do more things on the Internet at once, with improved response times," reviewer Sascha Segan wrote. "You can pretty much assume that streaming anything on the phone won't have to buffer. I streamed Rhapsody music while resolving a Google Earth page and using the phone as a hotspot with my laptop to check my e-mail.

For those that do live in a WiMAX or 4G-enabled area, however, Sprint is offering the chance for new EVO users to "claim" 4G feats via what the company is calling "firsts": the first 4G video posted from the back of a motorcycle, for example, as well as more whimsical offerings such as the first banana peeled in under four seconds, shared via 4G. Each feat offers the user a chance to add their name and share the feat, which Sprint may later highlight.

Interestingly, this reporter noticed a bug over the weekend that prevented some photos taken with the included camera phone from being saved to the included SD card. Rebooting the phone solved the problem. That glitch is now being considered a bug, one that Sprint could fix with an over-the-air update released Friday, Wired reported.

Android Central also noticed that the second, front-facing camera on the EVo 4G shoots images in reverse.

Sprint officials could not be reached for comment at press time.

In other Sprint news, the company said it would stream 56 live World Cup matches via ESPN Mobile TV at both 3G and 4G speeds.

Source Citation
"Sprint Battles Bugs As It Launches EVO 4G Phone." PC Magazine Online 4 June 2010. General OneFile. Web. 7 June 2010.
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