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HTC and Sprint launched the HTC EVO View 4G on Friday, which has a couple of firsts: it’s the first WiMax-compatible tablet, and it’s the first tablet that can run Netflix. It also has something that we hope is a “last,” which is that it’s a tablet running the non-tablet optimized Gingerbread (Android 2.3) instead of a version of Honeycomb.
The HTC EVO View 4G costs $399.99, with a new two-year service agreement or eligible upgrade.
Hardware-wise, the EVO View 4G has decent specs. It carries a 1.5-GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor (but single-core only), 1GB of RAM, 32GB of onboard storage, front (1.3 megapixel) and rear-facing (5 megapixel) cameras and a 7-inch 1024×600 screen. It also comes with a stylus pen, which (for a limited time only) will come free if you buy a two-year contract.
It’s also the first Android tablet to be supported by Netflix’s Android app. Netflix has been slowly adding supported devices to the list of “certified” devices. It’s mostly DRM implementation on devices that are holding things back.
Netflix head of communications Steve Swasey said, in an interview, “It’s not one type of gas that goes into every vehicle. DRM isn’t consistent across all Android devices, and unlike the iPad and iOS devices, there’s not one universal solution to it.”
The choice of Gingerbread for the HTC EVO View 4G eases that problem. As such, there is still no Honeycomb-based tablet capable of running Netflix. The EVO View 4G will get a later upgrade to Honeycomb.
The choice of Gingerbread does one more thing, however: it turns the HTC EVO View 4G into a big phone (without the ability to make calls, sans VOIP programs, that is). The iPad has been accused of this, as well, but unlike criticism of Android tablets, that fact is pretty much ignored.
Sprint and HTC are advertising this as the first 4G tablet available in their press release, but that depends on how you read the specs. It’s definitely the first 4G tablet in terms of WiMax support, but T-Mobile would argue the LG G-Slate beat it to the market with HSPA+ support. Meanwhile, Motorola’s Xoom still hasn’t seen its LTE upgrade.
The problem with all these technologies (LTE, HSPA+, WiMax) is that according to the ITU, the international body that defines that defines terms such as 4G, none of these is really 4G. That term should be applied to LTE-Advanced and WiMax-Advanced, it said earlier.
However, later, perhaps under significant pressure, the ITU backtracked and said that 4G “may also be applied to the forerunners of these technologies, LTE and WiMax, and to other evolved 3G technologies providing a substantial level of improvement in performance and capabilities with respect to the initial third generation systems now deployed.”
Also on Friday, Sprint and HTC released the EVO 3D smartphone. It’s a 3D device that doesn’t require glasses, and comes with Gingerbread (which is great, as many smartphones have been releasing with Android 2.2), a 1.2GHz dual-core Snapdragon CPU, a 4.3-inch 3D capacitive touchscreen (960×540), dual 5-megapixel rear cameras for recording 3D video at 720p and 2D video at 1080p, a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, 4GB of internal storage, microSD expansion slot, DNLA support and an HDMI port.
The HTC EVO 3D costs $199.99 with a new 2-year contract or eligible upgrade.