Telecom, Huawei launch NZ's 'cheapest' Android - or is it?
Telecom and China's Huawei have launched what they are billing as New Zealand's cheapest Android phone, the $199 Huawei X1.
Vodafone seems to have grounds to dispute the claim: on the Android section of its website this morning it lists a house-brand Android, the Vodafone 858 for $199 (a rep from Telecom offered the excuse that yesterday Vodafone was selling the handset for $249 .... a rep for Vodafone countred that the handset has always sold for $199 in its basic form, with the Warriors edition briefly at $249*).
NBR has been told the Vodafone 858 is manufactured also by the ubiquitous Huawei - and indeed, aside from colour, the two handsets seem identical.
2degrees sells another budget Huawei Android, the Ideos U8150 for $249 (Androids are also quietly populating the higher reaches of the carrier's lineup, with 2degrees also offering the LG Optimus Black and the Sony-Ericsson Xperia Neo, both for $750).
All three carriers offer Androids "free" on certain contract plans.
The pricing is keen, but not good as across the ditch where Optus is offering the X1 to prepay customers for $A89 ($NZ112) and retailer Crazy John's recently had the U8150 off-contract for $A99 ($NZ125).
Beyond support from multiple manufacturers and carriers, a broad spread of pricing, from premium to cut-price, has been central to Androi handsets collectively out-selling Apple's iPhone.
Low-cost, low specs
The Huawei X1 runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system (many phones are now sold with the newer 2.3).
It has a 2.8-inch touchscreen, a modest 3.2-megapixel camera that records standard definition video and a so-so single core 528MHz processor (about half the grunt of more expensive smartphones. There is a full range of wireless options, however with wi-fi, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity.
* Any more correspondence on this point can be left in the building skip behind NBR's offices.