San Francisco - Android continued to dominate cellphone introductions here at the CTIA convention, where new smartphones from LG, Sprint, Sanyo and Huawei include models targeted to mid-price and first-time smartphone users at prices as low as $49.99.
For the Sprint network, LG introduced the Optimus S, Samsung launched the Transform, and Kyocera launched the Sanyo Zio, which was
for use on the prepaid Leap Wireless network.
For the T-Mobile network, Samsung introduced the Optimus T. For the U.S. Cellular network, Samsung launched the Galaxy S-class Mesmerize. And for the Leap Wireless Cricket-branded network, Huawei served up the Ascend, which will be Cricket's second Android phone.
For all three new Sprint phones - the Sanyo Zio, Samsung Transform and LG Optimus S - the carrier announced a Sprint ID feature that lets users download predefined packs of Google apps, widgets, ringtones and wallpapers targeted to specific interests. Up to five packs can be stored on each phone, each pack consisting of content related to a specific interest, such as business, sports, fitness, and cars. Some packs are branded and others are not.
An unbranded Entertainment ID pack, for example, features video, music, photo and news apps including Facebook, Celebrity Tweets, Pandora, Shazam, Rhapsody, E! Online, and more. A Socially Connected pack includes Facebook, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Mashable, Tweetcaster, YouTube and other apps. A Business Productivity pack is designed for businesspeople who want to stay connected, entertained and informed on-the-go and includes features to help them with travel plans, organization, communication and the like.
Here's a carrier-by-carrier breakdown of some of the latest Android phones launched at the convention:
LG's Optimus T, targeted to first-time smartphone users, is LG's first smartphone for T-Mobile. The 3G phone features Android 2.2 OS, 600MHz processor, 3G 7.2Mbps HSPA, Wi-Fi personal hotspot feature supporting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, 3.2-inch touchscreen with Swype text-entry software, no hard keyboard, up to seven customizable home-screen panels, and a 3-megapixel autofocus camera/camcorder. Other features include support for Exchange, Gmail and most POP3 email accounts; Voice Actions for Android to control phone functions via voice command, and integrated Google services such as Google Search by Voice, Google Maps, Gmail and Google Talk.
Pricing wasn't announced. It's expected to be available for the Christmas season.
The Sprint Version of the LG Optimus is the LG Optimus S, which adds Sprint ID and visual voice mail and operates on Sprint's CDMA 1x EV-DO Rev. A network. It will be available Oct. 31 in Sprint channels at $49.99 after $100 rebate with data plan. The hot spot feature costs an additional $29.99/month.
Samsung's Transform features 800MHz processor, slide-from the side-keyboard, and 3G Rev. A technology. It will be available Oct. 10 through all Sprint channels, RadioShack and Best Buy. The Sprint-channel price is $149.99 with a two-year service agreement and after $100 mail-in-rebate.
The Transform comes with front- and rear-facing cameras to allow for video chatting, presumably over both the 3G and Wi-Fi networks. Sprint's 4G phones feature video chat over Wi-Fi, 3G and 4G.
Transform features 3.5-inch HVGA touchscreen display, 3.2-mehapixel rear-facing camera with flash and camcorder, and VGA front-facing camera for video conferencing. It uses the Android 2.1 OS but will get and Android 2.2 update later this year. It syncs with personal and corporate e-mail, contacts and calendars. Other features include Wi-Fi, visual Voicemail, included 2GB micro SD card, and support for 32GB microSD cards.
Also for Sprint, the Sanyo Zio from Kyocera debuts Oct. 10 in Sprint channels at $99.99 with two-year service agreement and after a $100 mail-in rebate. It features Android 2.1 OS, 3G Rev. A technology, 3.5-inch WVGA haptic-feedback touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera with 30fps video record and playback, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, and address book integration with such social networking apps, Google Maps. It also features pre-loaded Exchange Email application that supports corporate Outlook e-mail, calendar, contacts and tasks while also supporting ActiveSync and enhanced security features. It comes with 512MB of internal memory and in the-box 2GB microSD memory card. It supports up to microSDHC cards up to 32GB.
The Zio is 0.5 inches thick and weighs 3.7 ounces, making it one of the thinnest, lightest Android devices on the market, the company contended.
The carrier will offer the Samsung Galaxy S Mesmerize starting Oct. for $199 after $79 mail-in rebate. The 3G Android 2.1 device, which is similar to Verizon's Galaxy-class
, features 4-inch Super AMOLED touchscreen with Swype, no hard QWERTY keyboard, 1GHz processor, and DLNA-certified Wi-Fi. An Android 2.2 and Samsung Social Hub update will be available later in the year.
The Mesmerize will be the third of five Android smartphones that the carrier is launching this year and will be followed by the LG Apex in November and LG Optimus in December.
Other Mesmerize features include 5 megapixel camera with 720p capture, 1GHz Hummingbird processor, Bluetooth 3.0, and microSD slot supporting 32GB cards.
Huawei's Ascend will be Cricket's second 3G Android handset, available with the carrier's prepaid plans at $149 in the coming weeks. It features Android 2.1, 3.5-inch HVGA display, 3G, Wi-Fi, 3.2-megapixel camera, microSD slot and Bluetooth. Additional details were unavailable.