Chinese telco hardware maker has lobbed a grenade into the smartphone market with the launch of an Android handset with a capacitive screen for less than $US200.
The phone, dubbed IDEOS, is also endorsed by the 'with Google' moniker, which (as far as we can tell) means it will run plain vanilla Android OS for easy Google-supplied upgrades, unlike many of the Android smartphones which run customised front ends and take many months -- if ever -- to get upgrades to the core OS.
However, the "With Google" branding also gives sweet features like Google Maps turn-by-turn Navigation with assisted GPS.
Huawei says the handset will be priced between US$100 and US$200 and will come with Android 2.2 "Froyo" preloaded -- including access to Android Market.
It has the popular capability for the phone to turn itself into a 3G modem/router with a WiFi access point, which Huawei says will be able to support up to eight devices at once.
As you'd expect for a modern smartphone, it has 7.2Mbps 3G and 802.11n WiFi, a 3.2 megapixel camera and dual-LED flash, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass and ambient light sensor.
The main compromise to achieve the low price point appears to be the size of the screen, which is only 2.8", with a low resolution of 320x240 -- however, unlike the LG Optimus which competes at the low-end price point, the touchscreen technology is capacitive, which means it should be highly responsive.
Like most Android phones, storage is via SD card, with support for cards up to 16GB, and PC connectivity is via standard MicroUSB.
Huawei says it is currently in talks with Australian and New Zealand operators about local distribution. The spec sheet says its frequency support is only 900/2100Mhz which means Optus/Vodafone/Three, but not Telstra due to its 850MHz network frequency -- though phone manufacturers often make one version of a phone with 900/2100MHz, and another that has 850MHz/2100MHz support.
Huawei doesn't mention the processor speed of the phone anywhere in its specs, which tends to bolster our suspicion that it's a lower-end processor, not a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon -- but hey, we can dream, right?
More at Huawei's IDEOS website.