HTC‘s Evo 4G is certainly the most exciting phone since the Google Nexus One, and could actually prove more important to Android and the smartphone industry as a whole. It’s got amazing hardware and software, sure: a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, HTC’s Sense UI over Android 2.1, two cameras (an 8 MP on the back and a 1.3 MP on the front for video chat), Adobe Flash support, and a ridiculously big 4.3-inch screen that very nearly places it in the tablet category.
But it’s the network that makes the Evo 4G so exciting. It’s the country’s very first 4G phone, running on Sprint’s rapidly expanding (though incomplete, at the moment) 4G network. That means it’ll get very nearly broadband speeds, and it’s got a mobile hotspot feature to spread the wealth. That means you’ll be able to use the Evo 4G to take its 4G signal and output a Wi-Fi signal, so you can use any Wi-Fi device (laptop, smartphone, portable media player, whatever) on Sprint’s 4G network just by pressing a button.
Unfortunately, the network seems to be costing Sprint enough for them to pass the expense onto the customer. To use 4G rather than 3G, you’ll need to fork out an extra $10 per month, and the mobile hotspot feature will run you another $30 per month. (Verizon’s Palm Pre Plus offers the mobile hotspot feature for free, but then, it’s only 3G, and Verizon’s about two weeks away from paying customers to take the Pre Plus off their hands.) You’re looking at way over $100 per month to get the most out of the Evo 4G.
The up-front subsidized price is $200, as expected–a phone can’t really debut in the States for more than that, at this point. It’s the monthly fee that’ll get you, and it looks like the Evo 4G’s monthly fee is going to get you good.