This post was last updated at 7:01 p.m., PT.
NEW YORK--Sprint CEO Dan Hesse finally revealed the pricing and release date of the much anticipated HTC Evo 4G at a special event here Wednesday. The nation's first 4G smartphone will be available starting June 4 for $199.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. The Android device will also be sold through national retailers, including Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Wal-Mart Stores.
Interestingly, the issue of data plans was never mentioned during the presentation and became a source of confusion during the event. However, we have confirmed with Sprint and HTC representatives that the Evo 4G will require an Everything Data Plan, which starts at $69.99 per month, and a $10 "Premium Data Add-on" for WiMax, regardless of whether you live in a 4G coverage area. The thought is that with the add-on, you'll be able to take advantage of 4G speeds if you happen to travel to a supported market.
Currently, Sprint's 4G network reaches only 32 markets, but the carrier has announced plans to expand up to 18 additional markets by the end of the year. If the thought of having to pay for 4G without actually getting 4G makes you mad, it might be some slight consolation that there will be no data cap associated with the Premium Data add-on, regardless of whether you're using 4G or 3G, according to Phone Scoop.
The Evo 4G also has the capability of acting as a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot and connect up to eight devices, but this will also come at a price: $29.99 per month.
Aside from pricing details and release date, we also learned that the Evo 4G will allow for simultaneous voice and data and will be the first smartphone to ship with a YouTube HQ player and a video chat app from Qik to be used with the front-facing camera. Though Sprint's onstage Qik demo didn't work, we were impressed with the Evo 4G's speed (Sprint brought in a 4G tower for the event) as well the handset's 3D gaming capabilities and HDMI output.
As we learned at CTIA 2010, other goodies include an 8-megapixel camera on back, a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, Android 2.1, and an extra-large 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen. It's clearly a powerful and feature-packed smartphone, which is why it captured the attention of so many, but now that we know the full details about pricing and data plans, are you still interested?
HTC Evo 4G preorders begin at Best Buy, Radio Shack