Sprint to start shipping HTC Evo 4G LTE Thursday despite customs woes

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) said on Thursday it will start shipping the HTC Evo 4G LTE smartphone to customers who pre-ordered the device online. The device has been held up at a U.S. Customs inspection due to a patent dispute between HTC and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL).

HTC Evo 4G LTE smartphone sprint

HTC Evo 4G LTE for Sprint

"We will provide details on the full national launch as soon as possible," Sprint said in a statement on its website. "Thank you to everyone who has been patient while waiting for their HTC Evo 4G LTE. We will continue to update this post as additional details are available."

HTC said on Sunday that some of its phone models were making their way through the customs inspection process. "Each imported HTC model must be reviewed by customs and will be released once customs officials have completed the inspection," HTC said in a statement on Sunday. "Some models have gone through inspection and been released to our carriers customers. We don't have the status of each specific device model at this time, but we are working closely with customs. We remain confident that this issue will be resolved soon."

HTC acknowledged last week that U.S. customs officials were reviewing two of its new flagship devices, the One X for AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and the Evo 4G LTE for Sprint, to ensure that the devices comply with an exclusion order issued in December by the U.S. International Trade Commission. The ITC ruled then that HTC had violated an Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) patent that covers the ability to convert clicking on phone numbers and email addresses into actionable links on smartphones. HTC said it was developing a workaround to the patent for its phones.

The phones will be critical to helping HTC regain momentum in the U.S. market. The One X, in particular, is part of HTC's new flagship One line and the Evo 4G LTE is the successor to the highly popular Evo 4G, which works on Clearwire's (NASDAQ:CLWR) mobile WiMAX network.

For more:
- see this Sprint post
- see this AllThingsD article
- see this GigaOM article
- see this Dow Jones Newswires article (sub. req.)

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