The on-again, off-again launch of Sprint’s HTC EVO 4G LTE smartphone is on again: Customers will find the new Android 4.0 device in most Sprint stores on June 2. The company sent a short statement with the news, expressing excitement but also noting that stores would be open regular retail hours, so there’s no special launch events or early openings planned.
Sprint originally planned to have the new $199 handset available on May 18, but the devices were held up in U.S. Customs as they infringed upon an Apple patent regarding actions taken when clicking on a link; such as clicking to call a phone number, for example. HTC eventually modified the software on the EVO 4G LTE to allow users to manually associate apps with link actions. As a result, the devices cleared Customs last week.
The entire situation is a shame for Sprint, HTC and Sprint customers. Unfortunately, I don’t think this is the last we’ll see phones — or tablets, even — held up for sale due to alleged patent infringements. The smartphone market has matured enough that most of the larger innovations have been made and now device makers are limited to smaller software tweaks and aggressively protecting whatever unique intellectual property they have.