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.
Here's an interesting turn of events: just one week after announcing a new budget device, HTC CEO Peter Chou told the Wall Street Journal that the Taiwanese manufacturer will not cater to the low-end phone market. To be exact, he said that "[they] don't want to destroy [their] brand image," so they won't sell "cheap, cheap phones" just to boost shipments. Given the ambiguity of his statements, it's hard to say what his definition of low end actually is.
It may not get the tech world's heart all a-flutter to hear that MetroPCS is launching a Huawei phone, but the world needs budget phones and networks too! The duo is teaming up this time to bring no fewer than four gees to consumers for the first time in a Huawei device. The Activa 4G is a modestly spec'd phone, with a 3.5" HVGA display, a 5 megapixel camera, and running Android 2.3.
At a time where phone networks in the UK are fighting over 4G spectrum, it's easy to forget that not everyone is willing, or able, to spend £40 a month on a fast mobile phone - just ask those public sector workers who are striking over pensions today.
With this in mind, it shouldn't come as a surprise that O2 is attempting to broaden its smartphone lineup by adding Huawei's Ascend Y100 into the mix.
Budget smartphones are a lot like those miniature cans of Coca-Cola you'll find on supermarket shelves - cheaper by the half-dozen than their higher-volume counterparts, but with the obvious catch that you're getting less sweet, delicious corn-juice for your dollar. It doesn't take more than 30 seconds to stop, think about this, and realize that even if you won't finish the big 12oz can during your lunch (or don't want to drink that much soda), you're still basically paying more for choosing to buy less.