We Are EVO

I’ve been playing with my EVO almost nonstop ever since I got my pre-ordered phone on Friday–and didn’t even open my laptop (a MacBook, so hold the claims of bias, please!) until it came time to write this post. Despite yesterday’s news of the latest iPhone, I’m certain that HTC’s EVO, and its similarly-spec’ed Android cousins, are what will finally change the way consumers access the Internet–and thus, the way marketers reach consumers.

We’ve been saying for years that the Web and the mobile space are destined to become one. Just yesterday Morgan Stanley released a report forecasting that by 2012, smartphones will outsell all personal computers, both desktop and notebook, to the tune of almost 500MM units. (More on that report in a later post.) Soon, the marketing approach to reach consumers won’t be “mobile Internet advertising”–but simply, “Internet advertising.” One would reach them the way they’ve done on traditional Web channels, such as ads placed right on YouTube videos (the EVO defaults to HQ versions of vids and its huge screen displays them nicely); email and Facebook marketing campaigns that reach customers instantly; and the like.

That’s because in the end, consumers will respond to phones that offer the most PC-like experience. The way portable computers were first touted as “desktop replacements” a decade ago, the hottest handsets will be “laptop replacements.” And this is where the EVO succeeds.

Consider the gigantic screen, measuring 4.3 inches diagonally. Consider the kickstand (a simple but effective crowd-pleaser whenever I showed it to strangers), which allows the device to be propped up horizontally, offering a video-viewing experience like those tiny kitchen table TVs of the 1980s. Consider the 1GHz Snapdragon processor, which–like it does for the HTC Droid Incredible and the Google Nexus One, both Android phones–makes for speedy, DSL-like loading of Web pages. Consider the SenseUI (user interface), which makes the Android operating system an intuitive, easy-to-use platform, for which I’ve barely had to look at the owner’s manual.

The EVO exemplifies what the open Android system, combined with devices built for performance while still offering consumers control over things like batteries and expandable storage, means for mobile computing–from communications to media consumption/creation. Mark my words, the device will change what consumers expect from their smartphones. Heck, compared to the EVO, the iPhone 4’s new features, like front-facing camera for video conferencing, ads on third-party applications, and tethering to make the phone a Wi-Fi hotspot for other gadgets, are simply “me-toos.”