Let's get the tough stuff out of the way up front. The T-Mobile Concord is manufactured by ZTE, runs Gingerbread, and packs a pretty meager 2MP camera. Don't worry, though. This phone shall not have been mortally wounded in vain. With a price of $99 off contract (with certain plans*) from T-Mobile or Wal-Mart, it doesn't look like too bad of a deal for smartphone users on a tight budget.
US Cellular's LTE selection just gained an additional member: the Samsung Galaxy Metrix 4G. Available online today for $179 after a $100 mail-in rebate, the device comes with fairly middle-of-the-road features, such as:
- A slide-out QWERTY keyboard
- A 1GHz processor
- A 4.0-inch touchscreen
- A 5MP rear-facing camera and camcorder
- A front-facing camera
In an effort to promote its LTE network, the carrier will be lowering the handset's price to a somewhat more reasonable $129 (also after a mail-in rebate) in markets where 4G is either currently available or will be accessible by the end of the year.
Acer's newest offering illustrates what I'm talking about. The company has launched two phones - the Liquid Gallant and the Liquid Gallant Duo - that are very low-end and amazingly low-price, checking in at just £149 (about $235). Take a look at the specs:
- 1GHz MTK6575 (single-core) CPU
- 1GB RAM
- 4GB storage + microSD slot
- 4.3" qHD display
- Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich)
- 5MP rear shooter
- 1500mAh battery
- 129 x 65.5 x 9.9mm, 145g
- 802.11b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0
That may not be a lot of punch, but at that price, it will be enough to pull a lot of dumb- and feature-phone users into the smartphone world.
Sprint has finally announced what we'd heard almost a month ago. The Kyocera Rise, the budget smartphone best known for making my movie references easy, is heading to the Now Network on August 19th. The device will cost $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. So if you want the internal specs of the original Evo in a QWERTY slider from the company that you probably didn't know also makes cutlery, it will run you $70 out the door.
While everyone loves to gush over flagship phones, the truth of the matter is that for many customers, cheaper phones - be they last-gen's flagships or this-gen's budget devices - are the route of choice. Traditionally, the former route tended to work out better, especially for enthusiasts; after all, generation-old flagships tend to still outperform and out-feature current-gen budget devices. Plus, high-end devices generally have a ton of developer support and are usually better supported by the manufacturer.
Today, MetroPCS announced yet another addition to its stable of prepaid Android smartphones. One of the pricier off-contract handsets, the device retails for $459. So, what do you get for a significant portion of your rent for the month? Well, for a Metro PCS phone, it's actually a pretty decent spec list:
- 4.3" Super AMOLED display
- 1Ghz processor
- 8MP rear-facing camera w/ flash
- 1.3MP front-facing camera
- 32GB of "external memory"*
*Note: It's a little unclear what they mean by "32GB of external memory." The device's spec page also lists a 16GB memory card, so it may be that the device has an SD card slot that supports up to 32GB, but only includes a 16GB card.
As we've seen occasionally in the past, ZTE is capable of producing a genuinely impressive budget phone. It looks like they're coming up to bat again, because some purported specs for an upcoming phone have leaked, and they certainly look impressive:
Android 4.0 (could be bumped up to 4.1 by release)
4.5" HD IPS Display (1280x720) with Gorilla Glass
1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 CPU (MSM8960)
12.6MP rear shooter, 1MP front
8GB storage + microSDXC
.38" (9.6mm) thick
Custom ZTE UI pictured
The specs largely match today's flagships, such as the US variants of the HTC One X and Samsung Galaxy S III - right down to using the exact same CPU.
I hate to be the Negative Nancy or the Debbie Downer here. Mostly because I hate those disgustingly cute terms for "pessimistic". However, the ARCHOS 97 Carbon tablet arrives at a particularly rough time. Today, ARCHOS' newest tablet is available via the company's web store. ARCHOS has a history of being the leader in inexpensive tablets. Unfortunately, with the advent of the Nexus 7, the competition just got a lot stiffer.
Looking to be the successor to the Pantech Breakout, it seems that a little phone called the Pantech Star Q will be headed to Verizon. This sliding, QWERTY-packing device is decidedly a budget phone, expected to ring in at just $99 on contract, but it includes a mixed bag of low-end and surprisingly appealing specs, including Android 4.0.4, a Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor clocked at 1.5GHz, a front-facing camera (of indeterminate resolution), a 3MP rear shooter, a 4" WVGA display, and of course a sliding QWERTY keyboard.
If you're not in the market for an über cheap, probably contract free phone, feel free to move along. Assuming you didn't already when you saw the name 'Kyocera'. Still here? Good. Because I've got great news for you! The Kyocera Rise (no relation to the Dark Knight of the same name) is rumored to be coming to Sprint and Virgin Mobile very soon.
Twitter tipsters @evleaks, who has thus far tweeted nothing but leaked photos of devices with brief information on the devices depicted, has shared that Kyocera's contribution to the
Justice League budget smartphone world will be headed to Virgin Mobile, one of the nation's leading prepaid carriers, as well as Sprint.