So the new Apple iPhone 4 is a big hit. Aren’t all new Apple products big hits? When it comes to smart phones, though, the competition is catching up. The Motorola Droid is a truly competitive smart phone that runs on Verizon’s cdma2000 network. Apple doesn’t offer any iPhone models that run on anything other than AT&Ts GSM/EDGE/WCDMA/HSPA network. And then there’s the real surprise, the HTC EVO.
I first saw the EVO at the CTIA show in March. It has a huge screen (4.3 inches diagonal compared to the iPhone 4’s 3.5 inches) and attractive graphics. It does practically everything the iPhone 4 does, too. Furthermore, it uses 4G radio technology—in this case, WiMAX (802.16e). Sprint built its network, which it shares with Clearwire’s 4G fixed Clear wireless service.
The EVO delivers super-fast mobile data rates of 4 Mbits/s and higher. Can the iPhone 4 on the AT&T network beat that? It can if the iPhone 4 is near an upgraded HSPA cell site where rates of 7 to 21 Mbits/s are potentially there. But this isn’t too common except in a few cities. So the EVO is a killer 4G data access device for e-mail and Web browsing without Wi-Fi.
The EVO was a sales hit when it was launched on Friday, June 4. Its popularity will grow as more WiMAX cell sites come online. Right now there are 33 in the U.S., and that’s expected to grow into most of the large U.S. cities in the coming year. This should make EVO a big success.
Chipworks, a company specializing in reverse engineering and patent analysis, recently completed a teardown of the EVO. The main processor is Qualcomm’s 1-GHz Snapdragon. A Qualcomm CDMA radio is also included, as the EVO does have cdma2000 on the Sprint networks to fall back on if WiMAX 4G service isn’t available.
The 4G Sequans WiMAX radio chip features the RF transceivers and the baseband circuits. The EVO also includes power-management chips from both Qualcomm and Texas Instruments. The touchscreen controller is from Atmel, and the two image sensors are from OmniVision.
The EVO has two cameras like the iPhone 4. One faces the user for two-way video conversations. The other is an 8-Mpixel unit, which tops the iPhone 4’s 5-Mpixel camera. Finally, like the Droid, the EVO uses the flexible and successful Android operating system. If you want the rest of the details, go to www.chipworks.com//HTC-EVO-Teardown.aspx.
EVO’s only drawbacks seem to be its short battery life and lack of apps. Battery life is a personal matter based on usage, so Apple apparently spent some time on power-management design to get the life it claims. My iPhone 3GS is a power hog, and I’m lucky to get through a full day with it. Apple claims the iPhone 4 offers 40% more talk time for a total of seven hours, which is much better.
As for apps, no one has as many as Apple, which boasts more than 200,000. I suspect a huge percentage of these are trivial and very niche-y. I’ve downloaded very few apps for my 3GS, and there are thousands more I couldn’t care less about. So don’t let that 200,000 total trick you. Look for quality relevant apps instead of pure quantity.
Iphone is a great phone with revolutionary ideas but I don’t like Apples restrictions and limitations it applies. You have options now, you can use a droid basically with AT&T, Sprint or Verizon. All of these phones are genuine pieces of work. But there are comparable options in phones, especially if you want to avoid AT&T or just have Sprint or Verizon service.
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