Sprint EVO 4G Launch Faces Bugs and Weak 4G Performance

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[Author's Note: The article has been updated to reflect the availability of an over-the-air (OTA) update from Sprint addressing the memory card bug.]

The HTC EVO 4G launches today, but there are some valid reasons not to jump on the EVO 4G bandwagon too soon. Despite reviews suggesting that the EVO 4G is technologically one of the best smartphones available, the launch is already plagued with a bug and underwhelming performance from Sprint's 4G network.

The HTC EVO 4G seems impressive, but bugs and poor 4G network performance may hamper its success.
There have been reports that the EVO 4G has issues reading and writing to the SD memory card. Some users report error messages claiming "insufficient file permissions" to write to the memory card, and others claim that the EVO 4G won't read the memory card at all. Sprint acknowledged the issue yesterday, stating "We have identified the cause of the memory card issue and are testing a solution. We expect to have a software solution available very shortly that will be automatically pushed to phones over the air." The OTA update has been released and is available now.

One blogger also found that there are security concerns with the EVO 4G. "The Sprint customizations of Android are so bad that an Android application could get access to all of your data with very little work." The blog warns against purchasing the EVO 4G, stating "You are putting your data at risk of theft from not just one vulnerability (the one we're releasing tomorrow), but a whole suite of vulnerabilities!"

PCWorld's Mark Sullivan conducted real-world tests of the Sprint 4G network and found that the performance doesn't live up to the 4G hype. Sullivan summed up his experience with " Alas, after two days of using the phone in 4G country in the Northwest, I have the sense that the great phone is still looking for a great network."

However, Sullivan did find that "The Clearwire 4G network is definitely faster than the Sprint 3G network, but my tests suggest that it's not 10 times as fast, nor as fast as advertised, nor fast enough to usher in a new wave of high-bandwidth mobile apps (such as videoconferencing). At this point anyway, the 4G signal will merely make the apps you already use in 3G run marginally faster."

Of course, neither the storage bug nor the 4G network is necessarily a deal-breaker. The storage bug is already fixed with a simple over-the-air software update, and even at 3G network speeds the EVO is one of the best--if not the best--smartphone available today.

The security concerns could be another story entirely, though. And, with the next-generation iPhone expected later this month the title of "best smartphone available" could be rather short-lived.

The HTC EVO 4G is an exceptional smartphone, and the Sprint 4G network has potential--even if it doesn't live up to the hype today. But, if you were hoping to take advantage of a revolutionary platform on a bleeding edge data network, you might be disappointed.

You can follow Tony on his Facebook page , or contact him by email at tony_bradley@pcworld.com . He also tweets as @Tony_BradleyPCW .

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