EditorialsGood and EVO

The five most interesting things I’ve encountered with the HTC EVO line

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If you told me in June of 2010 that I would write over 400 pieces about a phone line that I only got into because my replacement cheapo Windows Mobile phone wouldn’t make phone calls where I needed it, I would not have believed it. Yet every week, there’s been some new neat discovery, ROM, root trick, scandal with Sprint, new EVO product, or other interesting development to cover.

Here’s my personal list of the top interesting things I’ve witnessed or experienced from my first couple of years of HTC EVO ownership.

Better hardware than advertised

The HTC EVO 4G shipped listing that it supported up to wireless-G but actually supported up to wireless-N. I don’t know what the reasoning behind dropping the specs were. Perhaps there was an issue with the ROM build; whatever the case, we got more than we paid for.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE lists a maximum SD card expansion of 32GB; however, my 64GB Micro SDXC that’s 80% full indicates that 32GB is not the maximum limit. Has anyone tried a 128GB unit yet?

The HTC EVO 3D shipped clocked at 1.2GHz, but the chips that HTC used were stock at 1.5GHz. Any replacement kernel could run the phone at 1.5GHz with no stability or heat issues, as that was what the chips were meant to do. 25%  faster chip speed translated to about 13% faster in the real world.

I start to wonder if they sold the units with the intent of being able to report them being better after each update.

The Carrier IQ scandal

Sprint shipped the HTC EVO 4G with a monitoring application called Carrier IQ. A developer going by TrevE found that Carrier IQ was logging every keypress, and Carrier IQ the company sends him a Cease and Desist order and publicly accuses him of copyright infringement for looking at data in the system log.

HTC, Sprint, and Carrier IQ get into a three-way blame game that reads like Abbot and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” routine with all three companies getting caught appearing to lie about something either directly, via omission, or via a technicality.

The impressive continued community development of the EVO line

The HTC EVO 4G is over two years old. In phone years that’s past end of life, and yet five (or six depending on how you want to count it) operating systems later, there are still new custom ROMs being developed weekly that outperform anything that HTC shipped with the unit.

The HTC EVO 3D never had much love while it was being pushed. From bad camera software to massive requirements to get AOSP up and running even half-decently to extreme delays in releasing the last operating system, the ROMs seemed stagnant while Sprint or HTC was spending millions in advertising the world’s first 3D phone. Post advertising, the phone is seeing new life with Android development finally getting around to it.

The HTC EVO 4G LTE shipped with Ice Cream Sandwich and had mostly working Jelly Bean ROMs within a couple of weeks of it being released.

The quest for S-OFF and framing HTC as the devil for preventing it

Calling HTC the devil for preventing people from getting S-OFF has been a pretty good money and fame making venture for some, not so much for others. There have been multiple S-OFF exploits and methods found, and generally now there’s a pool of cash as an incentive for someone to figure out how to break through HTC’s latest security update.

Keep in mind the only thing S-OFF can do that S-ON can’t is flash radios and splash screens (not to be confused with boot animations) and kernels from recovery as opposed to Android mode. All things can be worked around and accomplished; S-OFF generally just saves 20 minutes down the road.

S-OFF methods have been found using SD card IO issues, paperclips, and looking at the phone funny. Whenever there’s an S-OFF method found, someone pipes up from left field with their followers and claims it was stolen from them.

S-OFF has always been a fascinating development trail to follow.

One of the reasons for the S-OFF blocking interestingly enough appears to be content management providers wanting to be able to stick a kernel in that can’t be easily replaced. That is, your business phone cannot be rigged to get around the corporate firewall and connect you to adult material (along with spying on everything you do). This isn’t really out in the business world yet for Android, but as more bring-your-device-to-work companies come up, it will be.

In the end though, S-OFF is the carrier’s final choice to make, and not HTC. You can more accurately claim HTC is selling the devil phones…

The rise and fall and rise again of 4G

If there’s one thing to be learned from the EVO line, it’s pay for what you can get today, not what you’re promised tomorrow.

When the EVO 4G shipped, WiMAX was barely out there and Sprint committed to delivering 4G to as many major markets as it could push it into. Unfortunately that was not a whole bunch, and most of the Sprint 4G/WiMAX promise was left unfulfilled.

The announcement of the abandonment of the 4G/WiMAX networks in favor of the better 4G LTE standard left many who had WiMAX feeling betrayed; however, that wasn’t the majority of Sprint users, who evidently never saw it in the first place.

The $10 fee we all thought we were paying for high speed appeared to turn into $10 we paid to subsidize Sprint’s purchase of iPhones and throw them on an already overloaded network, although that’s up for debate.

Long strange trip

That’s about that. I’m wondering what some of your highlights of EVO ownership have been. I think I got a bit nostalgic this week as fall has hit with a vengeance and that always makes me look back.

In this case, it was looking back at five EVOs I’ve owned (although to be fair, two were my wife’s) at some of the more interesting times we’ve had.

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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts

Avatar of Paul E King

25 thoughts on “The five most interesting things I’ve encountered with the HTC EVO line

  • The Wimax issue is the one that pissed me off the most… I still love my Evo 4G though, but the promise was there and never delivered (Sprint run by politicians maybe?). And $10/month for “premium data”? I will never see it (I doubt LTE will even expand to where I live until long after “Network Vision” is “completed”).

    For this (and a few other minor reasons) I have decided not to do ANY upgrades until my EVO 4G is 100% dead and/or cannot run most of the software on the Android market (I refuse to call it “Google Play”, but that is another gripe, unrelated to Sprint in any way).

    The sad part is this: when I tell people of my gripes they tell me to leave Sprint… but there really is no better cell provider in my area when it comes to coverage and pricing. *sigh*

  • Avatar of Niraj

    Also under the category of better hardware than advertised, for the EVO LTE Sprint doesn’t say what version of Bluetooth the phone has, Amazon Wireless shows 3.0 on their spec page but mentioned 4.0 in their blog announcement of the phone, and HTC shows Bluetooth 4.0 on their specs for the phone.

    To this day I’m still not entirely sure if this phone supports Bluetooth 4.0 LE which enables some nice new connectivity options via a much lower power profile with things like smart watches, heart rate monitors, pedometers, etc. (but I think it does)

    • Avatar of Pete

      Settings->About->Hardware Information

  • Avatar of Greg M

    The EVO 4G continues to be one of the best phones ever made. The hardware and build of the phone was simply the best of its time and still continues to hold the attention of many developers out there.

    They are the ones that took great hardware from HTC and made it even better with their own twist on things.

    EVO 4G rocked. 3D stumbled. EVO Design and Shift just plain sucked. Finally the LTE was a noteworthy successor and heres to hoping an even better phone next year.

  • Avatar of Agus Godjali

    I have EVO 4G and EVO 3D, it’s nice article…
    Carrier IQ scandal? I really hate it!

  • Avatar of Ofir

    Well written article, thank you.
    I have to say that my biggest disappointment has not been with the EVO line, but rather the continual degradation of Sprint’s network. Running a speed test right now, I’m getting 0.25 Mbps on 3G (I’m located in Santa Clara, CA) and it truly does limit the phone in capability. While I can (and do) use Wifi about 95% of the time, it is always shocking to me when I try to do anything on my data connection. Even something as simple as browsing blogs or reading reddit when I’m waiting for my car to get fixed is seriously hampered. God forbid I want to watch Youtube to pass the time!

    I realize I’m beating a dead horse into glue, but really it’s just unreal to me how far Sprint has fallen. I used to get around 1.5 to 2 Mbps 2 years ago and, while still slower than AT&T’s alleged 4G backhaul system, that was enough to get me by. Now… I suppose I’m just sick of waiting for the network vision to become a reality. At this point I believe that I will be leaving Sprint when the next GSM Nexus comes out and I will try my hand with another carrier (T-Mo, AT&T, Metro PCS, etc). This will likely mean a departure from the EVO line as well – unfortunate, but necessary.

    Sorry for the rant, again thank you for the article. I agree that HTC is a damn good manufacturer and I think they’re getting the short end of the stick lately.

    • Avatar of Matt

      I’n in Arizona, and it has always been strange to me, hearing people bash Sprints data network and speeds, as I’ve always had top-notch access and data rates. I can browse, watch YouTube, even Netflix comes through for me with high quality streams and rarely ever pauses.

      Then this weekend I went on a trip.

      First, a stopover in Minneapolis St. Paul, 3 bars plus on my phone. I could hardly do anything online. Browse, barely. Facebook? Hardly. Email? I’d get headers easily enough but the rest… Waiting… waiting…

      Next Lexington Kentucky. Much more of the same. Fortunately the hotel had free wi-fi.

      Cincinnati Ohio. While downtown it was adequate, but as soon as I was in the outskirts? Hah! Good luck trying to do anything. I went to Kings Island, and could not upload one single picture the entire night. But I had 3+ bars and phone calls worked fine.

      So, I can now say I understand what all the griping is about. And even though Phoenix (and I’m on actually in a suburb on the outskirts of the major population area) isn’t even on the 4G upgrade list yet, I’m perfectly happy with what I get on the 3G network. I feel for you guys.

  • Avatar of Damon

    Didn’t having cm eliminate the carrier iq problem?

    • Avatar of Paul E King

      having CM, newer Sense updates, any custom ROM pretty much had it stripped…

  • Avatar of Hwyman

    Thanks for the recap! I think the the best part of owning an Evo (OG, 3d, & LTE) is finding Good and Evo. It’s been my one-stop shop for not only getting clear information about the phone but also about Sprint (as it pertained to me) and the wider development community that exists out there that I would have been oblivious to otherwise.

  • Avatar of Evan

    I still have my old Evo 4G (not connected) and use it for a home theatre remote. I’ve been using my 3D since it’s release and am pretty happy with it. The Wimax to LTE scandal really upset me as a 12 year sprint customer, and I’m considering jumping to verizon. Sprint was nice enough to cap my data on my “Unlimited Everything” plan, which also left me very upset. I’ve always paid to tether, yet they still capped me. Heavily considering the Galaxy Note II at this point, not sure if I’ll like enough to stay with sprint. We’ll see.

  • Avatar of etiyi

    I really loved my OGEVO. I’m trying out the gnex now, but it was a sweet phone.

  • Avatar of Donovan

    still rockin my OG EVO!!

  • Avatar of brandon

    i love the evo line but the evo shift should be like a distant cousin

  • Avatar of Dave A

    Two years ago when the EVO 4G came out I was kicking myself for having just bought the Touch pro 2 when I saw how awesome the EVO was. A year later I was able to get the EVO 3D just after it launched and have loved it but then sprint went and did a way with the 1 year renewal discount so I can’t afford the EVO 4G LTE. I still have 9 months before I can get the discount again and by then the next EVO should be just around the corner.

    On the issue of rooting my EVO 3D I did root it but have not been able to find a good daily driver that has ICS or JB where everything works so I went back to stock if anyone has any suggestions I am open to them.

    I don’t have 4G coverage here so I have not been able to test the speed on it but on my 3G my speeds range from .25mbps during the afternoon to 1.9mbps in the early hours.

    • Avatar of Paul E King

      well, considering stock OTA is ICS now, anything based off of that works… just never been a complete AOSP based ROM to work

  • Avatar of Abraham

    EVO’s are simply the best Androids to be honest. Although alot of people dislike Sense, I have grown to like it and enjoy SOME of its things. I use some of the things and simply cover the skin with APEX launcher.

  • Avatar of Joshua

    I am really, really disappointed in HTC in the past year. I had a almost fanatical loyalty to what I consider to be, at the time, the only true competitor to the iPhone in the android arena.

    However the slow, or fast depending on how you look at it, decline of the EVO line has really been sad to me. I now own the EVO LTE and while it is a good phone and I do love the camera and design. It’s not the equal to the OG EVO in comparison to the latest phones.

    Having played with the quad-core offerings by Samsung the speed and polish on its software, even if you hate it, makes for a better experience. I also love natural user inputs, so the stylus on the Galaxy Note’s were really compelling sell for me. I would have bought one if Sprint sold it.

    I have had consistent stability issues with the stock unrooted ROM, which was the entire point of running it! I will probably be moving to a custom ROM shortly to hopefully address the constant restarts and dropped Wi-Fi connects my EVO LTE is plagued with.

    I really adore the developmental community that is so active around HTC’s products so I won’t probably jump ship until the Note II comes out. But I just can’t help but shake the feeling that HTC rushed the EVO LTE to market and has lost touch with it’s roots of making some of the best hardware out there.

  • Avatar of voices

    Wish they made the battery remove able in the lte.

    • Avatar of Paul E King

      the phone would be thicker… they were aiming for as thin as possible

  • nice rite up man!! i have had the og evo.. evo 3d and now the evo 4g lte.. i alomost didnt get the evo lte cause of the battery not being removable but it dose not even bother me at all.. i think the evo line is off the hook… best phones out in my book.. i got a thing for evo’s!!! :) ya diGGGGG!

  • Avatar of Michelle

    I still like my original EVO 4G, it was Sprint that push me to the GS3 with at&t, and I love it!
    I was hesitant to try Samsung phone because I like HTC’s widget and Sense alot, but after using the GS3, I don’t regret my decision at all. I still miss the Notes and task widget from HTC, the 3rd party ones are not as good.

  • I still have the original EVO phone, it works great (root helps) and frankly i have no reason to upgrade to another phone as my current phone does everything that I want and more. Sure there are new EVOs out there that are nice and faster with more memory; but, they do the same thing as my current EVO. So… until LTE or as I lovingly call it 4G part 2 comes to my town, there is no reason to upgrade.

  • Avatar of Patrick

    FYI for EVO 3D owners:

    I had been having screen issues from going black to phantom button presses for quite some time. Recently it started to get worse so I decided a trip to the Sprint store was in order. Went in today and 2 hours later I have a brand new screen with no more issues. There is a defect with the screen on this unit and they replaced it free under Manu. warranty. If you are having screen issues don’t hesitate to head in for a replacement.

  • Avatar of Keith G

    I keep looking at “upgrading” to the EVO LTE, but find myself sitting on the back porch on weekends flashing ROMs and trying new settings with my old EVO 4g looking for that perfect combination. For me battery life has never been a big issue. Never have been able to get wifi n to work though. Will probably wait for the LTE network to go online here in St Petersburg before getting any new Sprint phone. Just too cheap to move away from Sprint. Ah well . . .


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