Manufactured by HTC, who also makes the Nexus One, and running on Android, the first of what one presumes will be many4G phones from Sprint will debut this summer.  The good news is that the phone will bow several months before most people estimated, but it still makes people wonder why it took so long since the first parts of the 4G network rolled out in 2008.

overdriveUp until now Sprint has been offering 4G modems and mobile Wi-Fi hotspot equipment such as the Overdrive, but actual phones have been conspicuously missing from the product line-up.  Why it has been this way is anyone’s guess, but at least the phones will be rolling out soon.

As the 4G network is still under construction, the phone will automatically roll over to the 3G network when no 4G signal is available.  Seeing as 3G still isn’t everywhere either, one assumes it would then roll over CDMA, but that isn’t clear at this time.

The reason this is important to the consumer market is that no carrier likes to be outdone by another.  Forbes reports that in a recent earnings call, Chief Executive Dan Hesse called 2010 “the year of 4G” and also went to say that the company is working with “several equipment manufacturers that will embed 4G capability into dozens of devices.”  In other words: don’t expect these devices to be alone for very long.

Despite the fact that the United States is currently lagging in 4G deployment compared to the rest of the world, there is no doubt consumers want this.  Once Verizon customers start seeing Sprint customers going at amazing speeds, they will be demanding it of their carrier also.  (Verizon is currently preparing to roll out the competing technology, LTE, already)

Every new technology has to start somewhere, and if it is with a lone handset, then so be it.  However, this is probably the first sure sign that the technology is truly going to be with us for a while.  (beyond the fact that the cell companies are pouring a ton of money into equipment to even get these networks set up …)

What say you?  Are you excited for even faster phones?  Do you feel this points to even more speed coming from other companies?