Companies Struggling to Meet Smartphone Demand

It's a business nightmare: you have plenty of customers, but not enough of the product.

Sprint has sold 300,000 of the HTC-made Evo 4G phones, which run on Sprint's first-of-its-kind 4G mobile network, but production is delayed without a set ship date, The Wall Street Journal reports today. It's a problem, but not one unique to the two companies.

Last month, Apple and AT&T's servers were overwhelmed by preorders for the latest iPhone, availability of the devices in AT&T stores was delayed, and the promised white version of the device remains unavailable. As a result, one analyst said at the time, Apple's customers could turn to competing devices... devices such as HTC's Evo 4G. Another HTC phone, the Droid Incredible offered through Verizon, has suffered delays for months, too.

HTC's problems have to do with the limited availability of a display component, but even companies that don't share that problem are cautious about promising too much. Motorola is releasing the well-hyped Droid X for Verizon on Thursday, yet Best Buy won't guarantee first-day availability and Verizon expects shortages, too, PC World reports.

And demand is only expected to continue ballooning. What's worse is that, even if companies are able to keep up, there's still the issue of dealing with the strain on the nation's wireless infrastructure.

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Niraj Chokshi is a former staff editor at TheAtlantic.com, where he wrote about technology. He is currently freelancing and can be reached through his personal website, NirajC.com. More

Niraj previously reported on the business of the nation's largest law firms for The Recorder, a San Francisco legal newspaper. He has also been published in The Hartford Courant, The Seattle Times and The Age, in Melbourne, Australia. He's also a longtime programmer and sometimes website designer.

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