The HTC Evo has been a big success; The Macquarie Group (via WSJ) estimates some 300,000 sales since its launch early last month. That number would be larger, but the world's first 4G smartphone has run into some supply issues. Sprint Nextel CEO Dan Hesse stated that he believed his carrier would have "more of a head start" than is now likely.
Samsung supplies the giant 4.2" LCD touchscreens for the Evo. While those are easier to come by than AMOLED displays, they are still in short supply. In fact, HTC has just signed a deal for more screens with Sony. HTC is also buying up space on cargo flights to the US in order to ship as many Evos as possible as soon as they roll off the production line.
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The need for speed is very clear here. Sprint sees 4G as the future of their business, and they may not be wrong in that. Big Red could turn on the first of their 4G networks at the end of this year, and AT&T is due to launch theirs in 2011. Sprint (and their ClearWire partners) have a short window from which to dominate the burgeoning 4G market. They need to lock in as many subscribers as possible now.