Sprint Nextel can't keep its EVO 4G smartphone in stock in some places, the company's chief executive, Dan Hesse, said on Tuesday, citing "better-than-expected demand," rather than the rumored component shortages.
"The device is more popular than we or HTC could foresee," he told reporters, according to Reuters, after his keynote presentation at a Forrester Customer Experience conference. The EVO 4G, made by HTC, is Sprint's first WiMax-compatible phone and has been selling briskly since it's launch on June 4, though not as briskly as Sprint first announced. The carrier had to backtrack on it initial public announcement that it had sold three times the number of EVOs than its two best-selling phones – the Samsung Instinct and Palm Pre – combined over their first three days of availability.
Yesterday Hesse specifically said he didn't think lack of key components was the issue, even though the screen of the EVO is made by Samsung, which is supplying it's own touch-screen Galaxy S smartphone to all four national wireless carriers, including Sprint. Is there really a difference between a parts shortage and too-strong demand for a device? Either way, would-be buyers can't get their hands on it, and have more time to consider other options, like the new iPhone 4, which Apple was able to supply in first-day volume nearing 2 million.
Apple had to experience better-than-expected demand, after it and carrier partner AT&T had to suspend taking pre-orders due to crippling volume. I have to wonder if Sprint isn't trying to stoke demand through the illusion of scarcity, in order to give its 4G phones a similar mystique to Apple's coveted devices. That might explain the previous overstatement as well.