Three years and two days ago, on June 4, 2010, the HTC EVO 4G was made available on Sprint, with the advertising slogan, “The ultimate multimedia experience at Sprint 3G and 4G speeds.” The phone had been so hyped that there were reports at the time in Nashville that Sprint store managers had told employees to stop taking names for wait lists, as there simply wasn’t any product on shelves or even an ETA.
The EVO 4G replaced its successor, the Hero, and became known as the iPhone killer of its generation. Sprint rolled out WiMAX 4G into several markets, and started charging people a $10 premium data fee, supposedly to pay for the 4G expansion. However, there were also reports of batteries exploding, dead screens, and overheating issues in the initial batch of phones, which turned out to be pretty common phenomenon. That didn’t seem to be the case after the first shipments, though, and reports died down quickly. Phones went up for sale on eBay and Craigslist for up to a couple of hundred dollars over the retail price, and I’m guessing people paid that since, when I first posted that I had one, I had offers to purchase for above what I paid.
Over the next two and a half years, the EVO name would become known as both the flagship Sprint device, and the name of whatever the spinoff/sticker device was at the time, since the name was slapped on other products to re-brand them (such as the Flyer, which became the EVO View 4G).
The HTC EVO 4G shipped with a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 512MB of RAM, a 1500mAh replaceable lithium-ion battery, and a screen capable of registering and differentiating between five different simultaneous finger presses. Why that was cool, I don’t remember – I just remember that it was.
One thing that made the EVO 4G absolutely amazing and distinct at the time was the kickstand, which allowed you to set your phone down and watch it from a comfortable viewing angle. HTC forgot about that when it introduced the successor to the EVO 4G, the EVO 3D, but brought that back for the EVO 4G LTE.
A very strong development and support community sprung up around the EVO 4G, the likes of which was not commonly seen, to make use of this phone with all the amazing sensors, devices, and speed. The EVO 4G was a device you could tweak, twist, poke, and do amazing things with, at a speed that didn’t make you feel like you were literally watching your life melt away. It was the top of the charts.
The EVO 4G initially shipped with Android 2.1, Eclair. Mine showed up with Froyo on it, if I remember correctly, and was later updated to Gingerbread. There were some rumors of Ice Cream Sandwich showing up on it, but unless you’re rooted, those were just rumors.
Three years ago, HTC made an amazing product, Sprint played a perfect marketing partner, and to this day my EVO 4G and my wife’s EVO 4G still are running, although more as a media/game server/impromptu baby monitor that can dial emergency services if need be, rather than as a phone (I moved on eventually to the EVO 4G LTE).
The story of the EVO 4G’s life played out on the pages of Good and EVO, which later became a part of Pocketables. As is the case with most phones over three years old, there has lately been very little new to tell lately, although we enjoyed covering the absolutely crazy development days (the carrier IQ scandle, overclocking, SBC explosions, kernel kanging, etc.). To this day, there is still new development in the root world on the EVO 4G, although with a declining audience and user base.
Android has also been expanding to the point where any one device doesn’t really garner the same attention that the EVO 4G did, and what works on the Samsung Galaxy S4 most likely works on any Android device, given a little ingenuity.
Not a lot has caught my interest the way the EVO 4G did. It had the speed, power, marketing, and a 4G network deployed just for it (with the plug pulled shortly thereafter). It was truly an evolutionary leap in terms of phones. Everything about it was just about right on – from a removable battery for when you have to get your phone back working now, to a kickstand that allowed you to burn through your battery watching Netflix, to front and rear cameras that let you see it all.
Anyway, happy birthday, EVO 4G. Sorry I missed it by a couple of days. The whole new dad thing keeps off-balancing me. Be sure to share your EVO 4G memories if you’ve got a moment!