The Death of a Legend

It’s finally come to this. I need a new phone. My EVO needs to be replaced. It’s been put through its paces, and after 2.5 years of some of the most rigorous service imaginable outside of a phone breaking company, I’m almost amazed it made it this far. Most people find themselves desiring a new phone mere months after they just got their newest one. Who can blame them? Android is constantly pumping out monumental upgrades, Apple has been forced to accelerate its “one phone a year” mantra that they seemed to hold for so long, and Microsoft is starting to finally crack the smartphone world. At least, I think so. It would be a complete lie if I were to say I’m still up to date on mobile tech world. I’m still registered as an author on TalkAndroid (although I believe I’m a guest author now to alleviate the confusion about why I never write?) and I still am getting moderate traffic on this blog despite it being almost 2 years out of date, but I stepped out of the mobile tech world a long time ago. And as I look at my phone, the state of this blog, and the mobile world around me, I can’t help but feel angry at my English teachers that I see a silly amount of symbolism in it all. Fuck you guys. That pen changing color had nothing to do with her character maturing throughout the novel. But I’m not writing this post for you…or for the money I could make off it. I’m writing this post hoping it’ll help me figure this all out. The more I think about it, the more I realize just how revolutionary this phone was at the time. Based on its specs, it was obvious it was a big deal then, but looking at the tech world now I’m amazed at how much it has inspired the industry.

Everyone always wants a new phone. What makes you special?

So what defines “needing a new phone?” I’ll tell you right now: I don’t want a new phone. I like love this phone. I had the opportunity to upgrade to the EVO 3D for, literally, a net $25. I went through all the motions, made calls to Sprint, found a buyer for my phone, and was a drive to the Sprint store away from getting a new phone some 2 summers ago. But I couldn’t get myself to do it. Not only did my phone feel not feel old, but I found myself feeling some sort of weird possessive passion for my EVO. If I didn’t replace it then, why in the hell would I replace it now when I will have to pay the full price for a new phone/contract? Here’s a list of everything that is currently “wrong” with my EVO:

  1. The speaker randomly cuts out meaning missing calls is a daily problem
  2. The speaker always cuts out when the battery is under 30%
  3. The mini usb port has become so loose that getting my phone to actually charge required me to buy a brand new charger (as older ones don’t work at all) and trying to find the perfect position (usually a minute process or so) to get it to actually charge
  4. The battery cover is no longer flush against the back (simply from years of use/numerous removals from bootlooping beta ROMs) and falls off every now and then by itself
  5. The screen randomly registers touches in places that I didn’t touch.
  6. The micro SD slot no longer reads SD cards

That’s the big one. Honestly? The first five issues I’ve had for a few months now (notably the battery charge issue which started a good 6 months ago) and have figured out workarounds for all of them. But I can’t get around #6. The sheer irony of the state of my phone right now amuses me to no end. With no SD card, my phone is completely stock. I have no apps other than the ones that it came to me with when I got it back in April/May of 2010. My market/play store was on my SD card, so I can’t even access that. The only thing that differentiates it from the out of the box device I got is the fact that it is running TommyTomato’s Classic ROM, ironically a ROM that is built from Sense 1.0 rather than the numerous newer versions of HTC’s famous skin. I have no games. I’m forced to use the stock HTC browser. I can’t look at pictures people send me. I can’t take pictures. It’s so fitting that my phone has essentially reverted back to what it was when I first took it out of the box.

As I look at different phones on the market now, I can’t help but think “which of these could be a worthy successor to this phone?” Unfortunately, that’s not a fair question to ask. How can I adequately replace, what I’ll argue with anyone, what was the most revolutionary smartphone since the iPhone. That’s a pretty big claim to make, no? But let’s take a look at just how much the EVO has changed general design of modern smartphone.

The screen size

Back in 2010, it was assumed that smartphones had a screen size in line with the original iPhone. Screen sizes were anything from 3.3″ to about 3.8″ if they wanted to be daring. Then came along HTC. Seeing the iPhone’s firm grip on the market, they realized they needed something radically different to make their mark. No one guessed that mark would be so big. When HTC announced the EVO’s 4.3″ screen reactions were understandably mixed. Critics were sure to mention how huge the phone was, and laughed at it for being called a mobile device. Others saw the benefits of having a larger screen: You can simply do more.

Fast forward to today. How many new smartphones come out with a screen size under 4″? Not any phone that is considered even close to high end. I mean, phone’s now are coming out with screens approaching 5″. Now that’s arguably too big. Hell, even Apple had to admit that the market may be right by upgrading the iPhone 4’s screen to a much more manageable 4″ compared to their old 3.5″. In fact, 4.3″ and 4.5″ seems to be the standard now for many phones. It’s a good thing HTC took a major risk in trying something new. Otherwise we’d still be squinting at a screen that isn’t significantly bigger than what you got with flip phones.

The 4G

It’s often forgotten about now that Wimax is being edged out, but the EVO ushered in the age of 4G connectivity. No longer were you required to watch youtube videos at poop smear 240p quality without having to wait 5 minutes for your phone to buffer 20 seconds at a time. No longer did you have to wait to load full web pages, let alone their mobile counterparts. If you really enjoy your 4G connectivity, you should thank HTC for taking the risk.

The “Super Phone”

Up until the EVO, many companies wanted to make phones that were up to par with Apple’s iPhone. The problem with that is that you simply can’t. Apple doesn’t add a lot of “super new” features because they don’t need to. They can add a minimum amount of services and do those services with unparalleled quality and precision. Companies trying to match that feat were fighting a losing battle. It is impossible to beat Apple at their own game. HTC realized that, and figured if they couldn’t do everything Apple did as well as Apple, they’d simply do more. Much more. The EVO was a technological beast. There’s really no other way to describe a device that, almost 3 years later, still stacks up to the competition in terms of specs. The 1 GHz Snapdragon processor can still chew through almost anything thrown at it today. The 8 mega pixel camera is still among some of the best in terms of raw power. The ability to be a hotspot for 8 devices is still being copied today. The 720p video recording is only beat by a few devices now. 512 GB of RAM was just recently eclipsed by 1 GB as the standard. Having a front facing camera for video chatting seemed almost silly at the time, but is outright required on newer, top of the line phones. If you like the fact that your phone seems to be as powerful (or more) than many laptops, you can thank HTC for doing that. They started the trend of not cutting corners with available tech at the time. If you own a “super phone”, you owe it to HTC for taking that risk. A phone this expensive that drew this much power could have failed horribly (and the media had a field day comparing its battery life to the iPhone). But HTC took it and rolled with it. It is still the most successful phone on Sprint, and despite being only on Sprint, one of the most successful Android phones (especially when you consider its knockoffs/carrier siblings like the HTC Thunderbolt) to date.

How do you replace that?

Honestly? I don’t know. How can I be sure that my next phone will last me this long? What can I get that will compare? The EVO was one of the best phones for flashaholics like myself. The development section in the EVO forums over at xda rivaled (and often times even surpassed) the development section for the Nexus One; a phone for developers. ROMs were being pushed out by the hour. The community was friendly, willing to help, and obsessed with bettering everything they could about the EVO. Even no the development section for the EVO is rather lively. 2 years later, several iterations later (3D, 4G LTE) and the development section is still more active than more 70% of other phones. That’s one hell of a development community. I need a phone that can give me that. I don’t want to wait a day if I have a question. I want it answered before I can refresh the page. I also want a phone that seems “future proof”. I need a phone that won’t seem like it’s at a major hardware disadvantage for years down the line. Software deficits I can -and will- find ways around. I can’t beef up hardware specs though.

That narrows down my choices (on Sprint) to pretty much the Galaxy S3 and the EVO 4G LTE. So I have to find out which of these phones is better suited to me. The 4G LTE is the obvious direct successor, but doesn’t hold the same hardware specs as the S3. In fact, the S3 is essentially powered by more than four of my EVOs. Seriously. Quad-core processors? 2GB of RAM? When did that become a thing? At the same time, I really like HTC. HTC is probably the best company for modders. Comparatively, Samsung tends to be a bit of a pain in the ass. I have to install things and connect to my computer to flash ROMs? That’ll be annoying until I settle into a ROM that I keep for more than a week. I’ll also have to see if 4.7″ seems to big compared to the LTE’s 4.5″ I don’t know. Guess I’ll have to go in and play with them to find out.

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~ by greenfieldroid on August 31, 2012.

2 Responses to “The Death of a Legend”

  1. Hey it was a delight to see a new blog post of yours pop in my rss reader. I have since moved to the SII and i love it. My gf has the SIII and I still think my phone fits my needs better than any other. Do you like to try new apps? Let me know, i am working on one and need feedback. Thanks for laying the EVO to rest on such a good note.

  2. http://textrar.com is a great free tool for retrieving deleted text messages!

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