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Sprint expands Evo brand with tablet, '3D' smartphone

Sprint is trying to replicate the hit it scored last summer with the HTC Evo 4G smartphone by expanding the brand to both a tablet and a new "3D" smartphone that are both slated to launch on June 24.

The HTC Evo 3G smartphone's major appeal, as you might have guessed, is its ability to take three-dimensional pictures and videos that can be easily shared over the Web. The device accomplishes this feat by coming loaded with two 5.0 megapixel cameras that film at the same time and render images and videos in 3D on your touchscreen. In addition to the dual 5.0 megapixel cameras, the phone's other specs are equally impressive: a 1.2GHz Snapdragon dual-core processor, a 4.3-inch QHD screen, WiMAX connectivity and Android 2.3 ("Gingerbread"), which is currently the most up-to-date smartphone-exclusive version of the Android operating system. The phone will be available for $199.99 with a two-year service contract.

RELATED SPRINT NEWS: Google building fiber network in Sprint's backyard

The Evo View 4G, meanwhile, attempts to take the Evo 4G smartphone experience and replicate it on a 7-inch tablet form factor. Based on this, the tablet is pretty much what you'd expect it to be: It has a 1024x600 pixel display screen, a 1.5GHz Snapdragon processor and WiMAX connectivity. What's more, the 32GB model of the Evo View is smartly priced at $399.99 with a two-year contract, which is significantly cheaper than the $729.99 that you'll pay for the 32GB iPad 2 on Verizon's network, even with a two-year contract.

The one problem with the Evo View 4G, at least initially, is that it will run on Android 2.3, which is fine for smartphones but is not optimized for tablets. Google's tablet-centric operating system, known as "Honeycomb," has been an evolving work in progress as early reviewers said the new OS was not quite ready for primetime. Google last month updated Honeycomb to include more PC-like features, including support for USB connectivity, support for Bluetooth HID keyboards and mice and stronger Wi-Fi connectivity.

Over the past year, Sprint has been working closely with Google to integrate key Google applications and features onto all of its devices. For instance, Sprint is currently the only carrier that is supporting the Google Wallet trial program over its network through Google Nexus S 4G smartphones. Sprint and Google also announced earlier this year that Sprint had successfully integrated the Google Voice application onto all of its CDMA phones. And although Sprint has said it has no formal connection to Google's new experimental fiber network, it is notable that Google decided to build out its network in Kansas City, Kan., which just happens to be next door to Sprint's official headquarters in Overland Park, Kan. Sprint and Google have also long been partners in the Open Handset Alliance, an industry group of carriers, device manufacturers and semiconductor makers that is dedicated to promoting Android.

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