HTC, Sprint announce Evo 4G LTE smartphone

Sprint adds one more LTE smartphone for the upcoming 4G network

Sprint on Wednesday introduced the HTC Evo 4G LTE smartphone, adding a new phone to a stable of devices that will be compatible with the carrier's high-speed network when it launches soon in the U.S.

The Evo 4G LTE is a "superfast" smartphone that sets the "gold standard" in multimedia experience, said Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint, during a launch event in New York City.

The Evo 4G LTE has Qualcomm's latest 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor. The phone has a 4.7-inch display and runs the latest Android 4.0 OS, code-named Ice Cream Sandwich.

The smartphone is priced at US$199.99 with a two-year contract with the carrier. It will become available in this quarter and Sprint will start taking pre-orders on May 7.

The new Evo has an 8-megapixel high-definition camera, which an HTC product designer said can take video and pictures simultaneously.

Sprint has announced that six cities, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City and San Antonio, will get 4G LTE by midyear. The 4G LTE network will be completed in the U.S. by the end of 2013, Hesse said. Sprint already has a 4G network built on WiMax mobile broadband technology.

The Evo 4G LTE will also be the first smartphone to have a technology called HD Voice, Hesse said. HD Voice is a combination of technology in phones including dual microphones, decoders and network technology to deliver less muffled calls. It also reduces background sound to make calls clearer.

Another feature is the new Sense 4 user interface, first announced earlier this year, which will make the smartphone easier to use and navigate. The smartphone has a kickstand at the back, a feature borrowed from previous Evo models.

It will come with Google Wallet, which uses the phone's Near Field Communications technology to let people buy products by swiping the phone against a reader at a cash register.

The phone has similar specs as a new line of phones, the HTC One smartphones, introduced earlier this year, although the Evo 4G LTE has a different body. The HTC One phones have just become available in Europe and aren't yet on sale in the U.S.

Sprint earlier this week launched the LG Viper smartphone, a dual-core smartphone for the 4G LTE network. The Viper runs Android 2.3 and will be available for pre-order on April 12.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

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