The Archos name isn't unheard of around these parts, but while the company has introduced more than a handful of affordable tablets into the market, it isn't the first brand to come to mind when thinking of smartphones. It has produced some before, but they were nothing particularly exciting. Now the company will up its game by rolling out not one but two 4G LTE-capable smartphones at CES next week - the largely identical-looking 45 and 50 Helium.
BLU is an up-and-coming smartphone manufacturer offering budget-friendly devices that have a knack for also being halfway decent. Today they've announced a new line of smartphones that look situated to continue this trend. The DASH series won't blow anyone's minds, but these highly affordable, and dare I say - adorable, handsets could make for a decent way to introduce a newcomer to the world of smartphones.
The three phones making up the DASH series include the DASH Jr., the DASH MUSIC 4.0, and the DASH MUSIC 5.0.
I just recently made the jump to an HTC One, but my last two phones were real stinkers. It's with this bad taste in my mouth that I am glad to see things improving on the budget end of things. US Cellular is debuting the ZTE Imperial, a Android 4.1 handset that doesn't make me hold my nose while reading its spec sheet. It comes with a 1.2 GHz dal-core processor, a 5MP rear-facing camera, and a front-facing camera for video chatting.
It's been said that a rising tide lifts all boats. So it is with the smartphone market: today Samsung announced the latest addition to its budget line, with hardware and software slowly rising as flagships push for newer horizons. The Galaxy Ace 3 is the latest of Samsung's innumerable additions to an already huge smartphone lineup, packing a 4" WVGA LCD screen, a 1Ghz dual-core processor (1.2Ghz for the LTE model), and Sammy's highly-skinned version of Android 4.2.
It looks like we won't have to wait until Samsung's June event for an official reveal of the Galaxy S4 Mini after all. This morning Samsung's press department officially unveiled the smaller, budget brother of the Galaxy S4, though "cousin" might be a more appropriate term; the phone does indeed look like its namesake, but that's about where the similarity ends. Like the Galaxy S III Mini before it, the internal hardware makes this device a horse of a different color.
BLU isn't yet a household name in the realm of smartphones, but the company has been quietly releasing hardware for the last few years, letting the remarkably low pricing do the talking. Today they've pulled the cover off of three new models, all aimed at the new "phablet" craze, or at least the lower end of it. The new Studio GSM smartphones start at 5 inches and just $149, and all three feature Android 4.1, the Google Play Store, and dual SIM slots.
Sometimes, it can be a bit arguable what counts as a "low end" phone these days. Even cheap phones are so powerful that calling them anything lower than mid-range can seem insulting. This one, however, makes us pretty comfortable with the moniker. With a 1GHz Snapdragon S1 processor, a 320x480 TFT display, and a 3.2MP rear camera, the Xperia E fills out Sony's budget line just fine.
Optionally, the Xperia E Dual has the option for dual SIM card slots, which is great for business users, and those who need to work with multiple networks.
It's easy to get caught up with the top-of-the-line Android devices, but there is also a thriving market for budget handsets. The Alcatel One Touch Shockwave is such a device, but it's not without appeal. The Shockwave, as its name suggests, is built to withstand being knocked around a bit.
The Shockwave has a shock-resistant casing, Dragontrail tempered glass, and water-resistant seals. It's a smaller device with a 3.5-inch screen and rounded corners.
It's not often we find ourselves excited about prepaid here in the US, but if any store can get people excited about saving money, it's Walmart. And what Walmart and T-Mobile just announced is actually pretty exciting if you're looking for a way to get on the smartphone bandwagon with low monthly overhead.
For $300, Walmart will sell you a contract-free T-Mobile Galaxy S II. That in and of itself probably isn't very exciting.
The One V is continuing to blaze across the US carrier trail - first, Virgin Mobile began selling the device for $200 prepaid, and now US Cellular has joined the fray.
Available now online, US Cellular's One V will cost $129.99 after one of those wonderful $100 mail-in rebates. Unfortunately, if you're new to US Cellular, you'll have to sign a two-year contract upon purchasing the device; if you're an existing customer, it doesn't appear you'll have to sign anything of the sort.