HTC chose CES as the launchpad for three new Android 2.2-enabled smartphones for 4G networks. One of these phones, the EVO Shift 4G, is a slider that will complement HTC’s original EVO and Samung’s Epic 4G on Sprint’s WiMax network. Rounding out the trio are the Inspire 4G for AT&T and the ThunderBolt, one of 10 new phones and other devices from various vendors now announced for release for Verizon’s 4G network.
At 5.8 ounces, the new Shift is a bit lighter in weight than the original EVO 4G, HTC’s existing Sprint phone. The Shift also adds a slideout keyboard, said HTC officials, speaking with me at the show here in Las Vegas.
Other specs for the Shift include an 800 MHz Qualcomm Scorpion processor, 3.6-inch display, 5 megapixel camera, HD video capture, FM radio, and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities. The Shift will be available starting January 9. Pricing with a two-year contract is $149.99 after a $100 rebate
Are gadget makers and carriers figuring out that significant numbers of mobile users really want hardware keyboards? The Epic 4G sports a slideout keyboard, too, although it’s the only one of Samsung’s five major Galaxy S models – first rolled out last summer — to do so.
Meanwhile, also at CES, Samsung has pointed to plans to create a family of slider tablets, starting with the new TX100 Slider PC.
HTC’s new phones for the 4G networks of Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon will be the first US models to come with htcsense, a capability for remotely tracking and locating lost smartphones (and for wiping the devices clean of personal data, if that’s what you want to do). HTC already offers htcsense on some European phones.
At a CES press event on Thursday afternoon, Verizon Wireless trotted out the ThunderBolt as one of almost a dozen devices set for release on its 4G network.
Key features of the ThunderBolt include a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, a 4.3-inch screen, 8 megapixel camera, Dolby Surround Sound, Skype mobile with video, and wireless DLNA, said Verizon execs.
AT&T’s Inspire will offer similar specs. AT&T, though, has announced a release date of the first quarter, whereas Verizon’s release date remains unknown. Pricing isn’t available yet on either of these two phones.
Additional devices announced for Verizon’s 4G network include three other smartphones – the LG Resolution, Samsung 4G LTE, and Motorola Droid Bionic 4G – along with two Windows laptops from HP, mobile hotspots from Samsung and Novatel, the Motorola Xoom tablet, and a refreshed edition of the Samsung Galaxy Tab.