One of the most talked about devices over the past month has been the EVO Shift 4G. While it may not be as large or carry quite the loaded spec sheet that the EVO does, it has still raised quite a few eyebrows. The T-Mobile HTC G2 proved to us that a device doesn't have to have the latest and greatest in terms of specs to be a very nice phone. Specifications aren't necessarily everything, but will the Shift have the same influence that its bigger brother, the EVO, had?
I know quite a few people that have suggested that they would turn in the original EVO for a similar device with a slide-out QWERTY. They're probably getting tired of the bulk. The larger display was definitely the selling point of the EVO at launch, but many people are starting to realize – myself included – that bigger is not always better. I have a myTouch 4G, which has a 3.8-inch display, and I'm perfectly content after carrying around a bulky Droid X for months. I still find myself misspelling a lot of words, but ever-improving auto-correct and replacement keyboards are my savior. As for the display difference between the EVO, Epic, and Shift, having a physical keyboard helps quite a bit.
To be honest, I think most Sprint customers looking to buy a phone will still be swayed towards the original Sprint 4G phone. The 4.3-inch display, front-facing camera, 8 MP rear camera, and 1 GHz processor should be enough to convince new buyers that the EVO 4G still takes home the cake. One of the most important features of the EVO and Epic though, is the front-facing camera. The Shift not having one will inevitably turn some customers away.
However, people looking for an Android device with a slide-out keyboard will likely be more interested in the Shift. The Epic is one of the bulkiest phones to date and has been stuck on Android 2.1 since its release. The Transform (the Epic's smaller brother) is stuck on 2.1 also. There's no telling when Samsung will push Froyo out to them, but the Shift will ship with Froyo. Based on feedback from current Galaxy S owners, 57% of them will not buy another Samsung phone due solely to not getting software updates quick enough. For buyers aware of the issue, I would assume the same would hold true.
Being $50 cheaper than its brother and $100 cheaper than the Epic will surely entice customers looking to save a buck, too. The Transform is $100 less than the Shift, but it's also considered a mid-range smartphone where the Shift will be considered high-end. The Shift definitely has its own little niche in the Sprint lineup and will appeal to many customers, but in no way will it steal the spotlight from the original EVO. If anything, the Verizon LTE-capable Thunderbolt will come the closest to that over anything else.
All of Samsung's current Sprint Android devices have physical keyboards. This means that Samsung has had free reign over those customers that can't deal with an all-touch phone. This Sunday, the Shift will step in and take charge. It's obvious that HTC wasn't aiming to replace the EVO with the Shift, but to cut Samsung out of the deal by offering a similar but smaller device with a physical keyboard. Given that HTC is fairly quick about pushing out software updates, I predict a lot of customers who have heard of Samsung's recent debacle will be persuaded to pick HTC. Do you think with the introduction of the EVO Shift 4G that HTC will begin to take over Sprint's Android sales?