New York - HTC unveiled its first next-generation 4G LTE smartphone, a Sprint-network model that is thinner and offers more battery life than its HTC predecessors.
The HTV Evo 4G LTE will also be the first phone to take advantage of the carrier's upgraded voice technology, called HD Voice. The technology uses a new voice encoder and decoder in the Sprint network and in the handset, plus dual microphones, to provide fuller, more natural-sounding voices and reduce background noises, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse claimed here at the phone's launch event. HD Voice will be enabled in the network in late 2012.
HTC's Evo 4G LTE will be available nationwide in the second quarter at $199. Presales start May 7.
Although the phone will be available nationwide, Sprint's LTE network will be available only in six markets in mid-2012. Sprint, however, has promised to complete its LTE rollout by the end of 2013. The carrier has not specified its year-end 2012 rollout goals. The phone does not incorporate mobile WiMAX 4G, which Sprint offers in 71 markets covering more than 130 million people and will be phased out.
Sprint promised more than 15 LTE devices in 2012 and has already announced plans for the LG Viper (see p. 18), Samsung Galaxy Nexus and a Sierra Wireless mobile hotspot.
The Evo 4G LTE and HTC One series 4G HSPA+ phones unveiled earlier this year are part of HTC's efforts to turn around the sales declines of the past few months by launching "fewer phones and focusing on her phones," HTC president Jason MacKenzie told TWICE. To differentiate the phones, the Evo and HTC One phones focus on design, advanced camera features and Beats music quality, he said.
One version of one of the planned One-series phones, the One X, will combine 4G LTE and HSPA+ technology and be available from AT&T in the coming months.
To make its LTE phones more competitive, the company designed the Evo 4G LTE to be its thinnest LTE phone yet, and the company extended the phone's battery life by 50 to 70 percent over its previous LTE models, in part by incorporating a 2,000 mAh battery, MacKenzie said.
As for design, he said, "We're doubling down even further on design." The phone features an anodized-black aluminum space frame, a silver ring around the phone sides achieved by shaving the metal chassis, red accents, a metal kickstand and a soft-touch back.
The 8.9mm-thick Evo 4G LTE features Android 4.0, 4.7-inch super LCD HD display, 1.5GHz Qualcomm dual-core processor, 2,000 mAh embedded battery, 8-megapixel rear-facing camera, 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera, and nearfield communications (NFC) technology. NFC is used in the phone's Android Beam feature, which lets users share Web pages, apps and YouTube videos by tapping phones together.
The phone also features Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n, which enables 3G/4G mobile hotspot capability supporting up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices simultaneously.
Like the One series phones, the Evo 4G LTE sports multiple camera and audio enhancements.
The phones apply Beats audio technology across music sources, including YouTube, streaming music services, and games, not just stored music. A new Music Hub feature lets users store music, music applications and streaming-music apps in one on-screen location.
All also feature HTC ImageSense, a new suite of camera and imaging features that include multiple features not previously offered by HTC. The new features include Superfast Capture, which reduces the time to take a picture to 0.7 seconds. Fast 0.2-second autofocus lets users take continuous shots by holding the shutter button.
In the Evo and select One series phones, the camera suite also includes f/2.0 lens to capture 40 percent more light than f/2.4 lenses available on other smartphones.
The suite also delivers Concurrent Video/Still Capture to shoot video and capture a photo at the same time. When shooting 1080p HD video, users tap the shutter button to snap a high-resolution still photo while continuing to take video. Users can also create a picture from a previously recorded video.
The suite's high dynamic range (HDR) technology improves contrast in captured photos. HDR also takes multiple photos of a subject in rapid succession, each with a different exposure level, then layers the images to create a single photo that combines the best parts of each image to deliver a more accurate range of light.
The suite also introduces Autoburst, a feature that automatically take a burst of shots of a subject if the subject moves while the user is pressing the shutter button.