Boost Mobile is set to upend the current prepaid race by offering its own variant of the HTC EVO Design 4G Android smartphone by the end of the current quarter. What makes this offering notable is that the Boost Mobile version will upstage the current Sprint version by shipping with Android Ice Cream Sandwich, which would mark a first for a prepaid carrier in the US, and offer a significant competitive advantage against larger postpaid carriers which have yet to offer Ice Cream Sandwich updates en masse for their respective flagship Android 4.0 compatible devices.
Many carriers have yet to offer updates to current models or new models with the latest Android version, taking into account that Sprint and Verizon would be the only carriers currently offering Android Ice Cream Sandwich hardware for sale with the Galaxy Nexus. The Galaxy Nexus officially launches tomorrow on Sprint after a compressed pre-order period which saw the carrier sell out of its pre-order inventory in a week.
Aside from the update to Android Ice Cream Sandwich, the Boost Mobile version of the EVO Design 4G will be identical in terms of hardware to the Sprint version, with a 1.2GHz single-core processor and 768MB of RAM with a 4.0-inch, 960×540 qHD resolution display, WiMax radio, 5.0-megapixel and 1.3-megapixel cameras. Hotspot capability is also expected to ship with the Boost Mobile variant, but specifics on pricing for either feature have yet to be confirmed.
Virgin Mobile is also expected to offer its own HTC 4G WiMax device this quarter in a variant of the older EVO 3D known as the EVO V 3D, also with 4G support included. With both phones slated to ship on each respective provider this quarter, Sprint may be looking to take the fight to prepaid services such as StraightTalk and postpaid carriers by offering 4G access on preapid, which will undoubtedly increase the competition level for every service in the country.