At an event in New York City tonight, Sprint CEO Dan Hesse confirmed the price and release date for the HTC Evo, the very first phone to run on a 4G mobile data network. Sprint said that the Evo was built completely "from the ground up" and not just an updated version of a 3G device. On a 4G network, the phone can do seamless multiplayer gaming, full unadulterated Flash video, and live streaming without the huge 3G buffer times.
Hesse noted that even though the device is billed as the nation's first 4G smartphone, it's also a very compelling 3G device. Right now Sprint only has its next-gen network up and running in 32 markets, many of which aren't even high-profile (even though tonight's event was in New York City, the Big Apple won't have 4G coverage when the Evo is released). It will be the first phone to offer live video calls in addition to standard voice exchanges. This feature will work both on 3G and 4G. However, when a couple of Sprint representatives tried to demonstrate the video chat feature, there were technical difficulties. Also, a brand new mobile YouTube player was created specifically for the Evo, which allows high-quality video streaming. Videos on the new YouTube app will be larger, less blocky, more colorful, and with more contrast than even the same player on other Android devices. The Evo also allows full access to all data services while users are on a call. So tracking locations, doing a Google search, or even instant messaging is all possible while you're talking to your buddies. The HTC-manufactured device will be available on June 4 for $199 after a $100 mail-in rebate.