Sprint EVO 4G breaks sales record, despite snags

Sprint said its EVO 4G had made a strong first-day showing, besting all company sales records. But does the Sprint EVO 4G have enough lasting power to best its competitors in the smartphone market?

The Sprint EVO 4G, a smartphone built by HTC, commanded strong interest in its first day on the market. According to Sprint, the EVO 4G shattered the company's first-day sales records – an exceptional accomplishment considering the plethora of EVO 4G launch day snags.

Today was supposed to belong to Apple, which unveiled a new iPhone 4 at the WWDC in San Francisco. Instead, the scrappy Sprint EVO 4G – a phone manufactured by the Taiwanese company HTC – has managed to nab its share of the media spotlight. According to Sprint, the EVO 4G broke all previous company records for single-day sales, triggering a shortage at outlets and retail chains around the country, and amping up demand for the sleek smartphone.

In a statement released today, Sprint reps said that "the total number of HTC EVO 4G devices sold on launch day was three times the number of Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre devices sold over their first three days on the market combined." Although Sprint reps did not specify the exact number of EVO 4G handsets sold in the US, the showing was considered by analysts to be a good one, especially considering the snags Sprint hit along the way.

On Friday, several bloggers noticed a potential security vulnerability in the MicroSD memory cards included with the Sprint EVO 4G. Sprint quickly released a software upgrade to correct the problem, and encouraged users to install the update before using their phone. But the security snag – short-lived as it was – was enough to cause a small kerfuffle in the tech press and on Twitter and Facebook.

Meanwhile, the 4G service on the Sprint EVO continued to draw criticism. PC World's Mark Sullivan tested the Sprint EVO 4G in Oregon, where the Clearwire network is up and running, and got a decent connection 4G on his EVO. Sullivan argued that the EVO 4G was still a "great phone is still looking for a great network... [not] fast enough to usher in a new wave of high-bandwidth mobile apps (such as videoconferencing)."

The Sprint EVO 4G has won major plaudits for its hardware, if not for its Web-browsing speeds. Engadget called the EVO 4G, which comes with an 8-megapixel, autofocus camera, "truly one of the best smartphones ever made," and said that "even spotty 4G – a reality of a young technology that's going to take years to properly build out – probably won't do much to hamper your enjoyment of this thing."

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