Sprint’s EVO 4G Superphone vs. the Next iPhone

By  |  Thursday, March 25, 2010 at 10:15 am

One product has dominated the buzz at this year’s CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas: Sprint’s EVO 4G, the first 4G phone headed for the U.S. The fact that it’s Sprint’s first WiMAX handset is the big news, but with its 4.3″ screen at 800-by-480 resolution, twin cameras (8MP on the back, 1.3MB on the front), 1GHz Snapdragon CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 1GB of built-in storage plus MicroSD slot, this Android 2.1 phone has the best specs I’ve ever heard of in a phone.

Great specs, of course, don’t guarantee much of anything. Still, when I saw the EVO in person, my socks were indeed knocked off. It could be the kind of phone you consider switching carriers to get. (Sprint’s lead in 4G wireless ensures that no other U.S. carrier will get an EVO doppelganger just yet.)

The phone’s over-the-top specs also led me to wonder: How well-equipped will Apple’s next iPhone be? When the iPhone 3GS shipped last June, it seemed pretty beefy. But advances in screen sizes and resolutions, CPU speeds, cameras, and other areas have left the 3GS feeling fairly basic. Thanks to the quality of the iPhone OS, it still delivers an experience that fancier phones are scrambling to catch up with. And Apple, more than most companies, rarely ups the specs of its products for the sake of pure specsmanship. But chances are high that we’ll see a new iPhone (call it the “Next iPhone”) within the next few months…and it’s possible that its hardware will represent the iPhone’s greatest leap forward to date.

I’m guessing that we’re not going to get a 4G wireless iPhone. LTE, the standard chosen by both AT&T and Verizon Wireless, is really a 2011 thing; nobody would be able to use an iPhone on LTE this summer, and I suspect that Apple will prefer to wait until the networks are broadly deployed and technological kinks have been worked out.

How about a bigger screen? I like the EVO’s 4.3-incher, but it makes for a slablike phone that’s not going to be to everyone’s taste. Unless Apple surprises us with Next iPhones in multiple sizes, I think it’ll stick to a screen size not radically different than that of the 3GS. But maybe it’ll get more pixels and/or OLED technology, like the screen in Google’s Nexus One.

The Next iPhone might be the first one with an Apple-designed CPU; even if it isn’t, it might get something zippier than the current chip, plus more RAM to boost performance. Apple will presumably stick with fixed storage rather than a MicroSD slot, but if past evolutions are any indication, the Next iPhone will match the 64GB capacity of the high-end iPod Touch.

For as long as there have been iPhones, people have wondered why they don’t come with an iChat client. If the Next iPhone has a front-facing camera, it could do a great, video-enabled version of iChat.

As for the standard camera on the backside, it’s clear that high megapixel counts and built-in flash don’t automatically improve the quality of pictures: I’d take the wimpy current camera in the 3GS over the theoretically better one in the Verizon Droid any day. I suspect that Apple will only soup up the iPhone’s camera when it can show pictures which are unquestionably better than the ones the current model can produce.

Wild card: Maybe Apple will put something out of left field into the Next iPhone, such as Near Field Communications networking.

Thinking through all this, it wouldn’t stun me if the Next iPhone doesn’t sport sweeping spec improvements over the 3GS. With both the 3G and 3G, Apple targeted its enhancements rather than performing massive upgrades. And it seems quite possible that every dollar invested in making the iPhone OS better has a bigger payoff than if Apple spent the same buck on hardware.

Rumor has it that Apple’s WWDC conference will begin on June 28th. If it’s the launching pad for the Next iPhone, that gives us another three months to idly speculate. What’s on your wish list?


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18 Comments For This Post

  1. Kimball Brown Says:

    The 1 GHz A4 will definitely be in the next iPhone. Jobs wouldn’t invest in building a silicon design team to only spread the fixed costs over the volumes of the iPad.

  2. Jason Burden Says:

    I’m excited to see how the new iPhone compares to these new phones. My feeling is they will really need to step it up because their last upgrade(3GS) wasn’t that great of an upgrade.

  3. Jeremy Davis Says:

    I agree with Kimball, HAVE to have the new A4 1Ghz. Otherwise I’ll keep getting made fun of by all the Nexus guys at work.

    Front-facking VGA camera would be wicked but not holding my breath.

    The main thing people throw fits about is the flash thing, people are so proud that they can watch a flash embedded movie on their Andriod 2.1 devices. From Steve’s attitude so far though, I doubt we’ll see that.

  4. Informed Says:

    Correction, LTE in 2011 is a Verizon thing. At&t will not have LTE until 2012 at the earliest, At&t hasn’t even started testing LTE yet!

  5. Cody Says:

    I feel very similarly about the deployment timeline for the iPhone 4GS.

  6. Constable Odo Says:

    Forget it. Apple is not going to build a smartphone with the Evo specs. It would be too expensive and it certainly won’t have any video-conferencing camera or Flash. Apple can’t just start trying to copy every highly-specced Android smartphone that comes out. There’ll be about a dozen of them every six months or so. Apple needs to be very conservative about its hardware. Make sure the changes are really needed. Don’t chase after the geeks. Any company that does that will be in deep financial trouble. Keep the hardware good, but don’t go overboard. Sticking an HDMI port on a cellphone is going off the deep end. It’s a cool feature, but hardly necessary. I’ll take longer battery life over an HDMI output any day.

  7. Nate Says:

    4.3 inches is sweet!! They have been making phones too small lately.
    I think this is a great idea!!
    I will take a larger display screen over lightweight or small compact size any day! They are doing it right this time. Finally this may be Sprint’s iPhone killer. I am going to wait for this one.

  8. Nick Says:

    I think the hdmi is a great feature and I can’t wait to try it. I love the idea of being able to take a video to someones house and pop it right in. Now the movie companies need to sell these movies in different formats.

  9. blake Says:

    i know whats not on my wishlist, the new iphone.

  10. samiup Says:

    “hanks to the quality of the iPhone OS, it still delivers an experience that fancier phones are scrambling to catch up with”

    nope, not really.

    both the iPhone OS and the iPhone hardware were top notch when released, but when ANDROID phones came along and with the ANDROID 2.1 OS, both the iPhone OS and the iPhone hardware were reclassified as antiquities.

    most of the features that will YET to be introduced by the next iPhone OS4 are ALREADY existing in the ANDROID OS 2.1 exp: multitasking.

    so if there is anyone playing catch up on the OS side, it is Apple and not everybody else as you claim.

  11. Jmac Says:

    This article draws is in by a competition of phones. Although, this article talks nothing about how the new Iphone will look and feel to the current one? How can you compare anything to Sprint EVO and “Next” Iphone? No one knows the specs of the new Iphone, no one even knows when its coming to market. Come on people.

  12. Ryan Says:

    I want to start off by saying a) that I am not at all an Apple Fanboi; I’m a PC-guy till the day I die…and b) that I DEEPLY wanted this phone. DEEPLY. With all that is within me. It’s so sexy, so awesome, so capable! I was willing to trade in my iPhone 3GS, the only Apple device I’ve ever owned – and the single greatest piece of technology that I’ve ever owned for that matter – for the HTC Evo. I am also still in contract with AT&T and so I would have terminated early and paid the fine just to switch to Sprint so I could have this phone. I absolutely love my iPhone – it’s familiar to me, easy to operate, and fun. But I hate AT&T. I want to see Flash display in the Safari browser. I want to be able to customize my iPhone background. Push notification constantly fails. Dropped calls. I despise the bottleneck of Apple & iTunes. I hate the lack of compatibility it has sometimes with my PC.

    But after reading all of the reviews, I am sorry to say that I will not be getting this beautifully gorgeous phone. And here’s why: Horrible battery life. MicroSD card failures. Can’t talk and surf at the same time on Sprint (only on 4G, not on 3G). Gotta pay an extra $10 for something that I might not even use because it will kill the battery and might be spotty connectivity at best. Can’t install apps to the MicroSD card. A camera lens that the phone actually sits on, resulting potentially in a scratched-up lens.

    I’m super bummed. I mean, it’s only a phone, right? But still: Why didn’t both HTC and Apple really think of these things? Why not put absolutely everything in the phone that people will need, and MAKE IT RIGHT, so there are no regrets on any side? Sprint: Why make a 4G network and then charge a surplus on it? What’s with not providing protection for the camera lens so that I can actually ditch an extra device and use the camera on this phone? Apple: lose the ego and incorporate Flash. AT&T: Fix your network so calls don’t drop.

    As a followup, I certainly will not be upgrading my iPhone 3GS now that I see that the iPhone 4G screen is smaller…what a stupid move by Apple. When will people get it right???

  13. Jackn LIfe Says:

    these two phones will be arch rivals for the next two years, then the cycle will repeat itself, cant wait for my EVO tho.

  14. ernie Says:

    I just Dropped AT&T and my I Phone and picked up my new Evo. The I phone has nothing on the EVO. Coming from a person who loves my I phone more than the Boston Red Sox (Hard to do). The I phone is not even in the same calssroom as the EVO. I now have FLASH I have the video confrencing I have a way bigger screen and way to many other options to list. I will not stay on here and babble but people please do yourself a favor and take a hard look at the Evo before you do anything. You will thank me later

  15. Evo Fan Says:

    Ok. Look people the evo is new phone just on the market…So do not bitch about little bugs like that yet until it fails to fix them. You have to give them time get complaints about some duh things cause alot of people will bitch about completly diffrent things. Besides ive read alot about them already making the exactly the same phone better. Plus AT&T does suck…Bad!!! :/ Like one guy said on here about the camera… Itks called a phone case are something like that. Battery life will get better. I do think they should stick a whole lot more memory in the phone than that… and still keep the sd memory card slot… When i first heard of the phone and that it going to have a memory card slot. And im really hoping its the larger SD cards and not the little bity ones that come with a adapter. Because most phones do come with slots just for the little ones and they suc nor do they hold as much memory. And i have seen a few smart phones that did hold the big ones. And 4g is pretty much new… so give them some time to build and update towers so that you can get the service. And they charge that ten extra dollers cause it is costing them way more to give you the service. But give it some time and it will eventually become free after the newness wears off and they get settled. Like i said you have to give the evo a break. It just came out. I mean look at the iphone it has actually made things people were already fussing about worse. And alot of things iphone could upgrade to the evo will already have it and the bugs would have been worked out. And be upgrading. But sorry people im jabbering on. I’m stoned so you understand. Any ways I’m all for evo!!!!

  16. Carrie Says:

    Fantastic info love the site.

  17. Bob Says:

    "With… 1GB of built-in storage plus MicroSD slot, this Android 2.1 phone has the best specs I’ve ever heard of in a phone."

    Hhahaha! Hahahahaha! HAHAHAHAHA!!!

  18. bims Says:

    .) very nice post, i certainly love this website, keep on it

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