Sprint spokesperson David Owens said that the company is using the pre-order method this time around to help gauge initial demand for the device. While it will be using the press to help promote the device up to the launch date, Sprint is going to refrain from any big TV advertising campaigns until August 31 or later.
Owens indicated that the number of handsets Sprint will have on hand for the launch is already set. Sprint will push stock around to different stores, depending on the demand at each one as determined by the pre-orders.
The one real bummer is that the Epic 4G will cost $250, which is $50 more than the other Galaxy S variants being offered by AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. However, the Epic 4G has a few advantages over the other three handsets.
One, it has a slide-out QWERTY keyboard (the others do not). Two, it has WiMax (the others are limited to 3G). Three, it has a front-facing camera for video chats and a flash (the others lack both). And four, Sprint's voice, messaging and data plan offers a bit of an economic incentive, as it costs less than the competition.
Sprint stores are opening at 8AM on August 31. The Epic 4G will also be available at Best Buy, RadioShack and Wal-Mart.
In other smartphone news, the Motorola Droid 2 is available from VerizonWireless.com for preordering. And the BlackBerry 9800 Torch is on sale over at AT&T stores. Both cost $199 after rebates with new contracts.
Here's a video Sprint put together comparing the Epic 4G to the EVO 4G: