The Sprint HTC EVO 4G, the first commercial smartphone that runs on the high speed 4G WiMax network, is in short supply, meaning the country's two most coveted smartphones are getting harder and harder to obtain, despite their recent launches.
While the Apple iPhone 4 shortages and pre-order snafus are hogging the headlines, the iPhone 4's dark horse competitor, the HTC EVO 4G, is also missing in action.
Since its official launch in early June, the Sprint HTC EVO 4G, which also runs on Sprint's 3G network in areas where 4G doesn't exist yet, has been tough to track down and in short supply. On Tuesday, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse said the shortages are due to overwhelming demand that neither Sprint nor EVO 4G-maker HTC anticipated.
"The device is more popular than we or HTC could foresee," Hesse said at a Forrester conference in New York, according to a Reuters report.
The HTC EVO 4G is the chief rival to the Apple iPhone 4 as the two high-end smartphones jockey for mobile device supremacy. For Sprint, the HTC EVO 4G represented the fastest selling device in the company's history, outselling previous Sprint champions the Palm Pre and the Samsung Instinct.
HTC EVO 4G shortages have been frequent since the device's launch. The Google Android-based device is often unavailable online. On Sprint's Web site Tuesday the HTC EVO 4G Web page said: "Sorry, this device is so hot we can't keep it on our virtual shelves. Check back later – more are on their way!"
The shortages of the HTC EVO 4G have continued despite the recent launch of the Apple iPhone 4 and regardless of boosted competition the EVO 4G is still selling briskly, where it can be found, Hesse said.
The Apple iPhone 4 is also being plagued by short supplies. According to Apple, the company sold 1.7 million Apple iPhone 4s in its first three days on the market and many iPhone hopefuls went away empty-handed when the smartphone hit store shelves last week. Supply problems for the Apple iPhone 4 started with its pre-order, which was marred by trouble, yet resulted in Apple selling 600,000 iPhone 4s in a single day.
Sprint has been confident in the HTC EVO 4G. Earlier this month, Sprint CFO Robert Brust said the HTC EVO 4G will create customer stickiness for Sprint and stem the tide of customers that abandon the carrier for AT&T when a new iPhone model hits the streets.
"The EVO is a phone that people can get instead of the iPhone," Brust said. "We were in the distance last year and now we're catching up."
The EVO 4G offers a 4.3-inch touch-screen, a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, an 8 megapixel HD video and still camera and a second 1.3 megapixel camera. Along with being the first to leverage Sprints 4G WiMax network, the smartphone also can leverage 3G and Wi-Fi and features a built in mobile hotspot for up to eight Wi-Fi enabled devices.