Would you pay an extra $10 a month for a lighting fast phone? Sprint is banking on it with the launch of the new EVO 4G by HTC. Ten extra dollars a month on your bill gives you access to “premium data services,” which basically means 'wicked fast Internet' on Sprint's small but growing 4G network.
To me it's a simple 'lifestyle' tax -- lightning fast 4G downloads, high quality YouTube videos, all for a few extra bucks a month. But that's me, I hate waiting for downloads.
I had a chance to play with new phone this week during Sprint's launch event and I'm impressed. Here are a few highlights, in my eyes:
Video Conferencing. The phone boasts a 4.3-inch screen with two cameras, an 8-megapixel autofocus camera on the back and a 1.3-megapixel camera on the front. It's perfect for video conferencing using a native Qik application; just imagine live-streaming a video of your kid's soccer game to your grandparents who live thousands of miles away.
The demo failed during the presentation (don't they always?) but it worked perfectly a few minutes later during my hands-on time.
Android. The EVO 4G is running the Google Android 2.1 operating system. The latest and most robust version of the OS features GPS turn-by-turn navigation and brilliant voice recognition for saying things like “find nearest pizza place.” Viola! You'll be eating pizza in no time.
YouTube HQ. The HQ stands for High Quality, and boy is it nice: YouTube on a mobile phone has never looked so good. And there's an HDMI out port if you wanted to stream those videos to a larger display or the television in your living room.
Wi-Fi. The phone becomes a Wi-Fi hotspot. Say you have four people traveling in a mini-van, now they can all use your phone's 4G Internet connection as a mobile hotspot just like sitting in a Starbucks. The EVO supports sharing its high speed data network with up to eight separate devices.
There's a ton of promise for this speedy phone but it's all centered around Sprint's 4G network -- which is available in just a fraction of the country. But don't let that stop you. Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on it for longer than 20 minutes so I can put it through it's paces.
We may all have to wait a bit, however; the EVO hits store shelves on June 4, and will sell for $199.
Clayton Morris is a Fox and Friends host and the tech godfather behind the Gadgets and Games show. Follow Clayton's adventures online on Twitter @ClaytonMorris and by reading his daily updates at his blog.