We last heard from the HTC EVO Shift 4G / HTC Knight / HTC Speedy last week when it popped up in a new series of accessory shots. It was a safe bet that we would soon be seeing more of Sprint’s HTC Desire Z iteration, and the weekend provided two new tidbits. The first is a new image of the device — the first clear image where we can see its four-line QWERTY keypad. The image shows the phone sitting in a protective case that adds some bulk, however, but picture a shrunken EVO 4G with a sliding QWERTY and you’re good to go. The second piece of the puzzle that may have fallen into place over the weekend is a release date: January 9th. This is pretty close to the date we reported back in October — January 6th — and it falls in line with Sprint’s tendency to launch new devices on Sundays. Our date, which also happens to be the first day of CES next month, is likely when we’ll see this puppy announced.

Hit the jump for a screen shot that supports the January 9th release date.

Read [Image] Read [Release date]