Sprint has added a new smartphone to its line, the HTC EVO Shift. 

Priced at $149, it is the cheapest 4G smartphone in the market to date. Other 4G-enabled smartphones, such as Samsung's Epic 4G, are priced above $199.

The HTC EVO Shift 4G is a WiMax-enabled Android smartphone. Although the Shift is the successor to the HTC EVO 4G, it differs in design and size, as the Shift comes with sliding QWERTY keyboard and a smaller display.

Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse said, “Sprint will continue to set the bar for feature-rich and customer-friendly 4G devices into 2011… Our proven leadership as a 4G pioneer has allowed our customers to enjoy 4G from Sprint first, and these new products exemplify Sprint's commitment to put industry-leading performance and capabilities in the hands of our customers.”

The announcement of a new smartphone from Sprint is a direct challenge to Verizon. Verizon launched its 4G service in December and is the country’s largest wireless carrier, and is expected to introduce four smartphones designed to work on the 4G network. But the move to introduce a cheaper 4G-enabled phone may alter the prospects for Verizon, as the Shift has all the features of other high-end smartphones and competes on price.

The Shift is also equipped with MiFi, which enables the new device to run widgets and Web apps right on the device. It also acts as server for files stored on a MicroSD memory card. The MiFi is priced at $49.99 with a two year contract and will be available on Feb. 27.

Sprint says the Shift allows up to eight Wi-Fi-enabled devices to connect to the 3G/4G wireless network.

Below is a comparison between HTC EVO Shift, its predecessor HTC EVO 4G, Samsung Epic 4G and Motorola Droid 2.

 HTC EVO ShiftSamsung Epic 4GMotorola Droid 2HTC EVO 4G
OSFroyoSoon update to FroyoFroyoSoon update to Froyo
Memory512 MB RAM / 2048 MB ROM512 MB RAM/ 512 MB ROM512MB RAM512 MB RAM; 1 GB ROM
ProcessorQualcomm MSM7630 800 MHz processorARM Cortex A8 1GHz processor1 GHz TI OMAP processorQualcomm Snapdragon QSD8650 1 GHz processor
BatteryLi-Ion 1500 mAhLi-Ion 1500 mAhLi-Po 1400 mAhLi-Ion 1500 mAh
Camera5 MP5 MP5 MP8 MP
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, WiMAX 802.16 e (Wi-Fi router)Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n; WiMAXWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, DLNAWi-Fi 802.11 b/g, WiMAX 802.16 e (Wi-Fi router)
Weight130 g155 g169 g170 g