Sprint EVO 4G launch overwhelms activation systems

June 4, 2010: 10:35 PM ET

The Sprint Superphone had strong demand even if people weren't lined up around the corner.

I went to a Best Buy and a Sprint Store today to see what customers were saying about the new Sprint EVO 4G.  Not surprisingly, both stores were pretty busy and both were out of stock when I showed up.  The people I had talked to had pre-ordered their EVOs and were pretty knowledgeble about the devices they were buying.

Many new EVO customers were waiting around for their phones to get activated.  Employees said that Sprints activation servers were overloaded.  That is a somewhat good sign for HTC/Google/Sprint.

New York isn't one of the areas that Sprint has deployed 4G (it will come later this year) and there was some animosity about paying $10 extra for 4G service when it was unlikely that they'd use it until it came to New York.

Surprisingly, most were also aware of the 8GB SD micro-SD formatting issue and all of the battery reviews.  One man I talked to was taking the SD out of his previous phone.  Another wasn't sure he'd need it right away and was patient enough to wait for the over the air update.  Many were buying extra USB charging cables (some at my recommendation).

When asked why they opted for the EVO on the eve of the announcement of the new iPhone, here are some of the answers I got:

  • "AT&T doesn't work where I live, too many dropped calls"
  • "I need Turn by Turn"
  • "I need a bigger screen, my fingers are too big"
  • "Dropped calls on AT&T, plus I like the look of the EVO better, 4G baby!"
  • "I had an iPhone, been there, done that.  I like Android better"
  • "I am a big Google user, I need a GoogleOS"
  • "Better Maps, better browser, better network"
  • "I'd never use AT&T again"
  • "A better screen to watch videos on"

To be fair, a lot of the complaints were about AT&T.  But there were a few people switching from Verizon/Motorola Droids who'd be paying early termination fees for the honor of using an EVO.

Overall, the launch was nothing like an iPhone launch -- much more tempered and low key.  If you weren't hanging out in the Mobile section of the Best Buy, you wouldn't even know anything abnormal was going on.  But the activation servers and the enthusiasm were any indication, Sprint may have a success on its hands.

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Seth Weintraub
Seth Weintraub

Google went from searching the Web to worming its way into nearly every facet of business and government. Seth Weintraub unveils where the company is going, who it's competing with, who it's about to compete with and how market forces push the company to veer or adhere to its Don't Be Evil motto. For 15 years, Weintraub was a global IT director for a number of companies before becoming a blogger.

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