Sprint Nextel (Nasdaq: S) got a little carried away earlier this week in singing the praises of its latest smartphone.

The HTC EVO hit the market on Friday as the country's first 4G smartphone. On Monday, Sprint impressed the market by reporting that it sold more EVO handsets on Friday than three times the number of Palm (Nasdaq: PALM) Pre and Samsung Instinct phones it moved during their first three days on the market, combined.

"We inadvertently erred in the comparison," Sprint confessed yesterday.

Sprint apparently only sold a third as many EVO phones as it had initially reported.

This naturally reflects poorly on Sprint's reporting credibility, but we're still talking about a huge number. In a single launch day, Sprint still sold more EVO smartphones than the first three days of Pre and Instinct phones combined.

The EVO remains a game changer for Sprint, and there are already reports of the device in short supply or sold out through many of Sprint's retail partners.

Sprint and HTC know they have a hit on their hands. It's not just about the speedy 4G distinction, since Sprint's 4G network is still lean when it comes to global coverage. It's not just the Android-fueled mobile operating system, since plenty of handsets are being built on Google's (Nasdaq: GOOG) fast-growing platform.

EVO's spec sheet shines, down to dual cameras with juicy resolution metrics and the ability to transform into a mobile hotspot by paying Sprint $30 a month. This may seem steep, but keep in mind that Sprint and rival Verizon (NYSE: VZ) charge twice as much for stand-alone mobile hotspots made by Sierra Wireless (Nasdaq: SWIR) and Novatel (Nasdaq: NVTL).

Is the EVO an iPhone killer? No. Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) has raised the bar with Monday's introduction of the iPhone 4, and it remains the gadget that everyone will be chasing in the near term. However, the EVO has become the hot alternative -- and its exclusivity through Sprint Nextel means good things for the carrier.

So who cares if Sprint's chest-pumping triple winds up being reclassified as a single and an error? It still means that the EVO is a hit. Sprint is just going to have to watch its words carefully the next time it delivers metrics to a skeptical audience.

What will be your next phone when your wireless contract runs out? Share your thoughts in the comments box below.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has an iPhone loaded with free apps, and maybe four or five that he has paid for. He does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned here, except for Novatel. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.