There are still great swatches of the American wireless industry woefully lacking in LTE coverage (we're looking at you, T-Mobile) but bit by bit the various carriers have been hopping on the bandwagon. While budget carrier Cricket Wireless has actually had LTE coverage in Las Vegas and Tucson for the last few months, it'd been restricted to USB access dongles, WiFi hotspots and the like. Their first LTE smartphone, the LG Optimus Regard.
Hey Cricket customers! Want a new phone that may or may not be better than the one you already have? You can get the new HTC Desire C, a dinky little 3.5" thing inspired by the One series.
The Desire C features some of the things you'd expect from its higher end counterparts, like 25GB of Dropbox space, Beats Audio, and Sense 4, to go along with its 3.5" touchscreen and Android 4.0.
Do you like the idea of a low-end prepaid phone that's probably marginally overpriced for what it is? Does Cricket Wireless intrigue you? Then have I got the news of the century for you. Meet the ZTE Engage. It's not particularly exciting. It's not particularly cheap. But it's... a phone. And it runs Android 4.0. So there's that.
The ZTE Engage does other things, too. Like music. And apps.
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Gee, I wish I could get a real smartphone for $150 with no contractual commitment"? Well, you can. One with a 4" display, front and rear cameras, a microSD card slot, and a 1GHz processor. For half the price of the original Motorola Pebl (that thing cost $300 back in the day).
Oh, how far we've come.
But do you want a $150 smartphone? I mean, that all depends.
Thanks to the high cost of traditional cellular service, contract-free wireless service is becoming more and more appealing to many customers. Two fairly big names in both cellphone sales and pay-as-you-go wireless service - RadioShack and Cricket Wireless - have now teamed up to offer RadioShack No-Contract Wireless service. I kind of wish they would've come up with a catchier name. ShackMobile. ShackWireless. ShackPack. Boom Shack-a-lacka Mobile. But I digress.
The service will start off with but two phones - one smartphone and one feature phone - both manufactured by Huawei.
The junior member of HTC's One family has yet to see great adoption in the United States, with US Cellular and Virgin being the only carriers of note to offer the HTC One V. Fellow budget carrier Cricket Wireless is finally getting their own version of the Android handset, and will be releasing it to its contract-free customers on Sunday, September 2nd. Cricket has yet to announce a price for the phone, but given its competitors' prices, I'd guess that somewhere between $100 and $200 is likely.
Leap Wireless, purveyors of Cricket pre-paid cellular services, is set to expand its business to the entire nation beginning Sunday, September 25.
Building on its presence as a regional service, Leap Wireless signed a reseller agreement with Sprint Nextel last year to begin using their network nationwide. On the 25th, Best Buy, followed by select Wal-Mart locations, Dollar Stores, and HSN will begin offering Cricket devices including the ZTE Score - an Android-based device - as well as phones supporting Leap's Muve Music service.
Normally, when we think about prepaid carriers, one thought comes to mind: low-end devices. Most manufacturers reserve their higher-end handsets for the Big Four, so those who don't want to empty their wallet each month on a wireless plan end up with very little to choose from when it comes to decent phones. However, that is all about to change with Huawei's upcoming Glory phone, which is set to land on Cricket Wireless this November.