Vodaphone is releasing their first own-branded Android phone, described as a low-cost Android phone. It has got a 2.8-inch resistive screen, a 3.2MP camera and runs Android 2.1 Eclair. To be released in May. It also comes with a suite of Vodafone 360 Apps (for Facebook widgets integration and the like), it is to be seen how the Vodafone 360 experience as apps on Android compares with Vodafone's previously released Linux Mobile Foundation based 360 phone.
How low will the price be? Will Vodafone go all the way and sell this phone for £99 on a pre-paid plan? Interestingly Vodafone is pointing out this feature in their press release:
2. Vodafone’s proprietary pre-pay balance indicator permanently displays the customer’s latest balance status – it is updated after each voice call, SMS, start up, and also every 12 hrs when idle mode. There is also a soft-key configured for convenient top up.
This type of task bar, status bar overview of pre-paid credit status with one-click top up could really accelerate the adoption of pre-paid plans for Android devices instead of buying them with very expensive 2-year contracts. The Android phone sold like this would still be locked to only work on Vodafone for 2 years, but would at least only require pre-paid services hopefuly reasonably priced for voice, sms and most importantly for data usage of web browsing and apps.
As manufacturing cost for this 2.8" resistive Android phone might be below $100, this could really provide a taste of what is to come in terms of reaching huge worldwide market share for Android, reaching emerging markets as more than 4 Billion people around the world still don't have a smart phone and Internet access. How soon the sub-$50 Android phones with sub-$3/month pre-paid Internet data access in all the developing countries?
Vodafone own-brand devices are available in 31 Vodafone subsidiary or partner markets. It is the world's second largest mobile phone operator behind China Mobile. See an overview of Vodafone's market share in this Wikipedia article.
Found via: techradar.com
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