Let's face it: free phones are usually synonymous with crap phones. That's what the Optimus U is trying to change - and, at least on paper, it looks like it might just be able to accomplish the task. That said, this is a phone sold by LG and US Cellular, both of whom have yet to display real talent when it comes to Android - and there's a lot that could go awry, what with the lack of Flash (both on the camera and in the browser) and the 600 MHz processor. So did the two companies succeed? Has a free Android phone that doesn't suck finally been made available?
US Cellular may not have the most impressive lineup of phones in the world, but it would be hard to say no to getting one of them free nonetheless. And come December 17th, customers will be able to do just that - get any of US Cellular's phones for just $0.00.
Actually, it gets even better than that - if you decide to grab an Android device (or any smartphone, for that matter), you'll also receive $100 credit
towards your first bill. (Update: US Cellular has reached out to us to let us know that the credit will actually be made up of $50 towards your first bill and another $50 for your second one.
While free Android phones are nothing new, it's a rare day when we see the gift coming directly from the carrier itself, especially on the device's launch day. However, that's exactly what US Cellular is doing with the Optimus U - come December 13th, the carrier will be touting the latest entry in the Optimus One series of phones for exactly $0.00 after an $80 mail-in-rebate and on a new two-year contract. Its specs are more or less the same as its Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile-bound brethren:
- Android 2.2 with Swype pre-installed
- WiFi connectivity
- 3.2-inch HVGA (320x480) display
- 3.2 MP camera
- 2GB microSD card out of the box with support for cards of up to 32GB in capacity
US Cellular's coverage isn't exactly the best in the industry, and the Optimus One phones are hardly the cream of the crop, but you've got to give the Optimus U this: it's free, it isn't a year old, and it has Froyo's mobile hotspot capabilities built-in.
LG's Optimus One series (which includes such phones as the Optimus T for T-Mobile, the Optimus S for Sprint, and the recently announced Vortex for Verizon), has been a great hit with customers, so it should come as no surprise that the company's expanding it quickly. Today's Optimus One news comes from US Cellular, who has just announced that the Apex, which is essentially an Optimus One with a keyboard tacked on, will be launching on November 19th for $79.99 after a $80 mail-in rebate. Its specs are essentially the same as the rest of the Optimus One series, but as a reminder:
- 3.2-inch glass touchscreen
- 3 MP camera with flash and video recording
- Android 2.1
Don't want a physical keyboard?