Sprint Shows HTC Evo Shift 4G Ahead of CES

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Ahead of the inundation of 4G smartphones expected to surface at the Consumer Electronics Show later this week, Sprint ( S) announced its newest 4G model, the HTC Evo Shift on Tuesday.

The phone goes on sale Sunday for $150 after a $100 rebate and a two-year contract. (Users who want to use the phone to tap Sprint's 4G service will also have to pay a $10-a-month fee.)

Measuring 3.6 inches, the Evo Shift's screen comes in smaller than that of its predecessor, the Sprint Evo 4G, whose screen is 4.3 inches. The Evo Shift features a slide-out keyboard, a Qualcomm ( QCOM) 800-MHz processor, Android 2.2, six hours of battery life (talking time) and a weight of almost 6 ounces.

Sprint's newest phone, pictures of which were leaked earlier this month, represents the latest move in an attempt to gain traction in a market dominated by two bigger competitors, Verizon ( VZ) and AT&T ( T).

The telco also took the wraps off its MiFi 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot with Novatel Wireless on Tuesday, which it says can connect up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, such as tablets and e-readers. At last year's CES, Sprint showed off its Overdrive mobile hotspot for 3G and 4G networks.

In the race to provide smartphone users with speedier wireless service, Sprint has the first-mover advantage. It was the first national carrier to roll out a next-generation 4G network, which currently lights up 71 markets in the U.S. Sprint is also the only carrier selling 4G-enabled phones, although this is expected to change this week when Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T unveil new 4G hardware at CES.

Verizon rolled out its 4G LTE network last month. Its first 4G smartphones are rumored to be coming from HTC and Motorola ( MMI).

Sprint shares dipped 3 cents, or 0.55%, to $4.49 on Tuesday, mirroring the modest slip in tech stocks that saw the Nasdaq fall 0.39%.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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