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Huawei’s $29 Android aims at AT&T feature phone users

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Huawei, the Chinese company I soon expect to be a household name in the U.S. has a new handset targeted at first-time smartphone buyers. AT&T (s t) introduced Huawei’s Impulse 4G on Wednesday, with a Sept. 18 launch date. The Impulse 4G offers all the basics — and then some — of an Android-powered(s goog) smartphone and will cost just $29.99 with contract.

So what kind of smartphone does $30 get you? The Impulse 4G won’t compare to the new Droid Bionic(s mmi), but it costs one-tenth of the price. The phone has a reasonably sized 3.8-inch touchscreen with 800×480 resolution, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with flash and 720p video recording, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. An 800 MHz Qualcomm(s qcom) chip powers the Impulse 4G; no that won’t set any speed records, but it should keep Android 2.2 humming along nicely.

The Impulse 4G supports AT&T’s(s t) HSPA+ mobile broadband at speeds up to 14.4 Mbps and in keeping with the target audience, the carrier is pushing its $15 monthly plan that offers 200 MB of data. That’s surely not enough for a heavy smartphone user, but for a user upgrading from a feature phone and just getting started with mobile email, web and apps, it’s a good starting point. And there are always the options of upgrading to AT&T’s 2 GB plan for another $10 per month, or taking advantage of AT&T’s Wi-Fi hotspot network.

The phone isn’t the latest or greatest. In fact, it appears to be an older Huawei model — the Ideos X5 — that’s been branded for AT&T. But when roughlysix out of 10 Americans still don’t have a smartphone, the Impulse 4G has a solid chance of living up to its name: A $29 impulse upgrade from an older feature phone.

5 Responses to “Huawei’s $29 Android aims at AT&T feature phone users”

  1. phrancis

    This is a lot of smartphone for the $, but for the same price you could get a much nicer HTC Inspire on the ATT network, but bought via RadioShack. Just saying…

  2. This is just the next of the “low-end” Android phones that are going to take over the US cellular market. My wife actually got on the trend late last year with a free-after-rebate phone from Verizon. I expect my mother and mother-in-law to both do the same in the next 6 months or so (as contracts are eligible for renewal). Soon, these types of phones will become standard on every carrier all the time. The biggest loser may become Apple, who can only compete if you include refurbished phones (currently $9.99 for an iPhone 3GS!).