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Sprint introduces the HTC Evo 4G

It happened. I never thought it would, but it finally happened. A company made a smart phone, nay a superphone, that I finally want. I’m not just talking about liking this thing, I’m making plans to switch networks just to have it. The device I am referring to is the newly announced HTC EVO 4G for Sprint. One could safely say this is the best spec’d phone to ever be built, and as you read on, I think you will agree.

HTC (High Tech Computer Corp.) is not a well-known brand to many; however it’s the mastermind behind a lot of the great phones from the past that had standard carrier branding on them. It makes the Google Nexus One and the HD2 for T-Mobile, along with a whole slew of Windows Mobile phones such as the Ozone and the Imagio. As of late, HTC has been marketing its own name a bit more heavily by running TV ads with the tag line, “HTC, quietly brilliant.”

 The EVO stands out in just about every way, starting with its large, 4.3-inch, 480 x 800 TFT LCD (thin film transistor liquid crystal display). The muscle of the device is provided by the top end Qualcomm QSD865 1GHZ Snapdragon processor, and backed up by 1GB of built in memory and 512MB of RAM. To keep it running for what I hope will be a full day of use, you will find a 1500mAh Lithium Ion battery. Wifi is included in the form of 802.11b/g. Otherwise, you will have EV-DO Rev. A (evolutionary-data optimized) and WiMax, Sprint’s 4G network, onboard for both voice and data consumption. For additional storage, HTC included a micro SD (secure digital) card slot, and the device should ship with an 8GB micro SDHC (secure digital high capacity) card.

 To round out the rest of the hardware, you will find four touch-sensitive buttons at the bottom of the screen for navigation, a volume rocker along the side and a power button at the top. Gracing the bottom of the phone is a USB port and the wonderful inclusion of an HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) output (it will require an adapter however, to plug into a standard HDMI port on your TV). A quick flip of the phone will reveal an 8-megapixel camera with LED (light-emitting diode) flash which is also capable of recording video in 720p and a kick stand to prop up the device.

On the software front, the device runs the newest version of Google’s Android platform, at version 2.1. HTC, however, has spiced things up a bit by including its Sense UI. Sense UI dresses up the user experience by including apps for social networking, photos and even something as simple as contacts. It is done in a classy way and really takes the Android experience to a new level.

 Thanks to the inclusion of Android 2.1, you will find this phone has turn-by-turn GPS (global positioning system) directions with text-to-speech functionality and voice search. You can literally push a button and say “Navigate to “Mel-O-Cream Donuts” and the phone will get you there, barking out the street names as needed.

One app that really caught my attention, though, is the hotspot app. You will be able to turn it on and share your data connection over WiFi with other devices, such as your laptop. There is no pricing structure listed yet for this feature. 

Let’s recap, shall we. This phone has a huge, 4.3-inch display that will inevitably lead to a killer mobile Web browsing experience. An 8-megapixel camera with 720p video capabilities means no more point-and-shoot or camcorder in my bag. Turn-by-turn GPS for navigation means that the Garmin Nuvi can stay in the glove box. And on short weekend trips, I would even be inclined to leave the laptop at home. 

There is one major downside. If you are like me and you want this phone right now, you are out of luck. Sprint isn’t releasing the hardware until this summer and is also keeping a tight lip on pricing.  I do think the wait will be worth it. And when the time does finally come, I will be trading in my unitasking iPhone for the multitasking HTC EVO 4G powerhouse.

Nick’s pick: Fluid application (Mac OS)
Hardware is great, but I find myself getting excited about software a lot more these days.

I seem to be using more Web applications and fewer traditional desktop applications. Everything from Gmail and Google Docs to Twitter and Facebook are Web-based apps that are redefining how I use my computer. I find myself wishing they would function a little more like the old-school installed applications I am accustomed to. I want a shortcut to it on the dock, or an icon in my applications folder. Now, thanks to a new and simple application called Fluid, I can have just that.

Head on over to www.FluidApp.com for a free download. Fluid lets you create a site-specific browser for all your favorite Web apps, allowing them to function like desktop apps. And, to keep things looking nice and tidy, there is even a Flickr pool loaded with user-created icons you can snag to dress things up. It can be found at www.flickr.com/groups/fluid_icons. Windows Users can accomplish the same task using Prism. The download can be found at prism.mozillalabs.com. Enjoy!

Story published Friday, May 7, 2010 ( Volume 5, Number 3 )

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