When Google launched the Nexus One on January 5th, they coined the phrase “superphone” to emphasize how they pushed the limits of what’s possible on a mobile phone. I ordered the N1 on the day it was released and believe it lived up to the hype, but HTC has already surpassed their first super device with the new Sprint EVO 4G.
The following is a quick list of examples how the Sprint EVO tops the N1.
1. First smartphone to support 4G WiMax
Sprint was the first (and only) nationwide carrier in the U.S. to implement a 4G WiMax network and they chose Android to power their flagship device. Users can expect top downloads speeds of 6 Mbps which is 10 times faster than the average 3G network (only 600 kbps).
Monthly data caps are non existent on Sprint 4G data plans (when connected to WiMax), so users can download without worry.
2. 4G Android applications
The faster speeds of the 4G WiMax network opens the door to a wave of bandwidth hungry applications. For example, Google worked with HTC and Sprint to create a new YouTube HQ application that automatically detects a 4G connection and then streams a high def video.
Other developers like Qik are creating specialized versions of their apps targeted for the EVO. Sprint also offers ESPN Mobile TV on the EVO and plans to sign more video distribution deals before launch (Amazon VOD anyone?).
3. Larger 4.3 inch display
The HTC EVO 4G raises the bar for Android screens with its 4.3 inch TFT display. This is a half inch larger than the N1 and will come in handy for high definition pictures and videos. The larger screen size also makes text input easier by allowing a jumbo sized virtual keyboard.
Dell will include a 5 inch display on their Mini 5, but they are marketing it more as a mini tablet than a phone (and we still don’t have a release time frame).
4. 720p HD video in/out
The Nexus One records the best quality video of any Android phone and the EVO will improve upon that. The EVO records video in HD (1280×720) vs only 720×480 on the N1.
Not only does the EVO capture HD video, but you can also push it out with the included HDMI mini port. Users will be able to hook their phone directly to a HDTV by using only a HDMI cable (no dock required). This will allow users to share their recorded movies in HD and stream HD content over a 4G connection.
5. Dual cameras
The EVO is the first Android phone in the U.S. to feature dual cameras. An 8 megapixel camera is located on the back and a 1.3 MP camera is found on the front. This will allow for live video calling, which iPhone (and Android) users have been clamoring for.
Sprint has already released their SDK so developers can begin taking advantage of the forward-facing camera in their apps. Look for fring to be one of the first apps on Android to support video communications.
6. 1GB of internal storage
If Android has a dirty little secret, it is the limited internal storage found on most phones. Google has said they are working on an encrypted solution to allow developers to install their apps to the SD card, but that could still be some time off.
Most new Android phones have 512 MB of internal storage with only about 256 MB allocated for application installs. My Nexus One experienced the low space warning after a month of normal use and I have to constantly uninstall applications to free up room.
Thankfully, the EVO has doubled the internal storage to 1 GB so users should experience fewer space issues as they wait for Google to address the situation.
7. Built in tethering for 8 devices
Most carriers discourage tethering an internet connection from your phone to other devices.
The EVO will actually ship with tethering built in and Sprint is marketing this as one of its biggest features. Customers will be able to setup a mobile hotspot with their phone that up to 8 other devices can connect (vs only 5 of their previous Overdrive hotspot).
I considered purchasing an Overdrive to use as a backup internet connection for work, but the EVO eliminates the need for a second device.
Three reasons to skip the Sprint EVO 4G
Ok so at this point, it sounds like the Sprint HTC EVO 4G might be too hard to resist.
Sprint did not reveal the actual launch price, but I don’t think it even matters for a device like this. The EVO is geared towards the business crowd and hardcore geeks who are willing to purchase it at any reasonable price point. The current Sprint 3G rate plans are fairly competitive with the industry, so it will be interesting to see what options they offer for the EVO 4G.
To be fair, lets look at three reasons to skip the EVO and hold out for another phone.
1. Coverage area
The EVO is a worthy purchase even if you plan to use it on 3G, but a 4G connection is required to take full advantage of the device and all its services. Sprint plans to cover 120 million people by the end of 2010, so visit the Sprint 4G site and check your coverage area.
The only other carrier to roll out a 4G-like nationwide network in 2010 is T-Mobile. They plan to cover 185 million people with HSPA+ by the end of this year, so stay tuned for more markets.
2. T-Mobile HSPA+ is faster than Sprint 4G WiMax
Speaking of T-Mobile, their new HSPA+ network will be the fastest available with nationwide coverage in 2010. Their current implementation of HSPA+ has a theoretical max of 21 Mbps which is double the 10 Mbps theoretical max of Sprint 4G WiMax.
T-Mobile will have a smartphone with HSPA+ support, but it will not be available till the second half of 2010.
Verizon is launching 25-30 markets with 4G LTE late this year, but they will not have a LTE handset till summer 2011. AT&T will also adopt LTE for 4G, but does not expect a handset till 2012.
3. Android updates
Finally – if you always want to have the latest version of Android loaded on your phone, go with the Nexus One. The N1 uses the stock version of Android and should always be the first handset to receive whatever the latest version is out. The EVO will launch with HTC’s Sense UI (on top of Android 2.1) and HTC normally lags a few months before bringing their firmwares up to date.
Poll: Who do you think comes out on top?
[Image credit: Engadget]