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Watch out for the Android….

handy giff-staffer gaffer
handy giff-staffer
‎10-09-2010 14:18
‎10-09-2010 14:18

I saw an article on ZDNet yesterday which forecast that Google’s Android operating system would take half of the smartphone market – I believe it – actually I think it could take more and lead to a dramatic reduction in prices for smartphones – including the iPhone.

 

I reached the conclusion whilst catching up on handset news down at our local Carphone Warehouse.

 

The manager reckoned that the average pre-pay handset price was around £100 so I looked at the wall and saw the little green android logo peering out from behind an LG GT540 on sale for £99.95 (see pic below).

 

Back in the office, in went my giffgaff SIM and I immediately received the giffgaff settings via SMS that hooked me up to the web – plus no need to unlock the phone as Carphone Warehouse sell their prepay handsets unlocked if they possibly can.

 

For the price, this handset is a revelation – here are a few of the highlights…

 

  • Integrated  gmail with contacts and calendar synchronisation.
  • 3G data, Wi-fi, stereo Bluetooth, FM radio plus built-in GPS with turn by turn, voice guided navigation – again from Google.
  • Digital compass, level and position sensors built in.
  • Pre-loaded apps including integrated social media aggregator and Android Market so you can get more.
  • A 3 meg camera with lots of features inc. auto focus, face recognition & video capture.
  • Wi-fi, Music player, video player with Xvid and Divx playback.

So everything the original iPhone had and some things that even the iPhone 4 doesn’t have yet.

 

The handset has been criticised for having a poor screen and running a version of Android that’s a version or two behind the very latest that’s out there. But honestly, for the average user, these drawbacks aren’t serious and, in my view, for a handset that is five times cheaper than an iPhone it’s a miraculous device (Apple would probably describe it as “Magical”).

 

So if I was sitting in Cupertino I’d be worried - value differences like this will get noticed by customers eventually. I’d be working on getting a cheaper iPhone Nano to market and adjusting my business plan to cut £150 off the price of a standard iPhone before a raft of better and probably cheaper handsets like the GT540 come along.

 

Perhaps it’s also why Apple relented yesterday in allowing software translators to again be used for its Apps – Apple may not like Adobe originated code on its phones but that’s not nearly as bad as being over taken in the apps stakes by Android.

 

 

40 Comments
dalep
newcomer

Good review of the GT540 - it's a great phone for the price.  Adding giffgaff makes it fantastic!

rhinoman
exemplar

I bought one of these for my wife.  It's the first Android phone I've got my hands on and I was a little bit wary as everything I've read about it suggests that all your stuff syncs into a Google account.  However, it wasn't hard to turn that off.  What is also nice about this phone (that many reviews of it miss) is that although it's 'only' Android 1.6 it includes an Activesync client.

jack17938
head honcho

I think my next phone will be Android...

serial666
newcomer

I'm using one now,

What more can I say?

billycraig
graduate

It's basically the Android system that MAKES the phone what it is!

 

The T-Mobile Pulse, which isn't as bulky in size, is also availible for a similar price from places such as Carphone Warehouse, I believe. Another fantastic, cheap Android phone that the average user will love.

 

I can't wait for HTC's next Android offering, I think I shall be purchasing it!

brradley
instructor
But the problem is the lack of apps, because of the different sizes of screens all operating on Android, developers have no clue whether to program their app for one size, or have it in another size!
billycraig
graduate

@brradley: not always true. Many apps work regardless of screen size. There is also no lack of apps, I believe there's about 130,000 apps now. Not as large as Apple's App Store but still an awful lot.

pete1138
pupil

I did have the LG optimus (gt540) at one point from cpw and had a few issues with apps not working, but i reckon it was more a handset fault then compatibility issues with screen resolution. In fact, im hoping to get the SE Xperia mini pro soon - even with its 240*320 screen

skycatcher
newcomer

I have just got the t-mobile pulse. There is great support on the modaco website with lots of guides and tips for upgrading the rom to customised ones. I have upgraded mine to the FLP 1.5 which is running 2.1 android. It is a pretty impressive phone for £99 (plus £10 topup :-( ). There are apps for everything and mostly free. It also comes with google maps navigation etc...

 

I am waiting for my smartsim to come from dealextreme to "unlock" the phone so I can use my giffgaff sim in it!

gawright
augur

Android needs to have proper support for MS Exchange and then I'd go for an Android handset next time