The HTC Evo 4G arrives at Sprint’s starting line

Capping off a week that saw the introduction of the Garminphone and the non-Droid-branded LG Ally to the growing stable of Android devices on T-Mobile and Verizon, Sprint provided more details on the most impressive Android device announced to date – the HTC Evo 4G. First shown at CTIA, the Evo 4G is thinner than I remember it looking, and includes a similar scarlet interior to the Droid incredible (which I thought that was done just for Verizon).

The event also included a pre-screening of Disney’s forthcoming Prince of Persia. The movie really has no tie-in to the device, unless the Evo has a heretofore unannounced time rewinding feature (which I would gladly pay a premium for only to go back in time and no longer need it). Sprint will offer the sleek superphone – with its large screen HDMI out, dual cameras (including one 8 GB one)  and HD video capture features — for $199 with a two-year contract starting June 4th, a few days before Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference where the company has released new iPhone models in the past.

There’s been a fair amount of discussion regarding Sprint’s data plan for the device, which I’ll refer to as “Simply Most Things”. The Evo 4G will require a $10 per month surcharge for uncapped 4G (and 3G).  You’ll also pay handsomely for its vaunted eight-device hotspot feature which is a $30 per month add-on. In contrast, Verizon throws in mobile hotspot functionality on the Pre Plus for free.

All told, on top of Sprint’s relatively low prices for other services it’s not a bad deal although the hotspot premium is excessive. At the event, I heard someone note that the hotspot pricing is designed to appeal to those replacing their home broadband with WiMax, but I doubt many Evo 4G buyers will use the device that way. I’d rather see a $20 per month 4G surcharge that included mobile hotspot features.

One of my main concerns regarding the Evo 4G, was battery life, particularly after encountering disappointing results with Sprint’s Overdrive hotspot in 4G coverage areas. A Sprint represented said that if you’re streaming video, you’ll get about two hours, but more typical voice and light Web access will yield eight to ten hours. I still don’t think we’ll see even that, but even the seven hour range would put it within reach of other recent Android devices.

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