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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