To all of the companies with intentions to pump out cheap and readily available devices: It’s time to get a move on because Huawei has just schooled you. Announced today is the T-Mobile Pulse, a prepaid-capable Android smartphone that utilizes a UI overlay known as Canvas. In terms of specs, the Pulse is quite capable with a 3.5-inch HVGA display, 3.2 megapixel camera, 2GB internal memory, 528MHz along with HSDPA, Wi-Fi and GPS radios. There are two features notably absent however; a flash for the camera and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Both T-Mobile and Huawei insist that their exclusion was necessary to keep the Pulse’s dimensions slim and trim at 160mm x 62.5mm x 13.5mm. Like it or not, the 3.5mm-less and flash-less Pulse will be as cheap as chips when it goes on sale this October: £179.99 ($293 USD) — or as low as 4.95€ in Germany with a 2-year agreement.
In a move that is sure to give executives and customer service reps from other carriers a major headache, Vodafone UK has announced that it will be doing away with all roaming charges. The change applies to both Pay As You Go and Pay Monthly customers from June 1st until the end of August, and applies to over 35 European countries. The only catch is that customers must sign up for Vodafone Passport in order to enjoy calling, texting and picture messaging at the same rates as at home. As for which countries are included in the Summer promotion, it seems that every major European destination is covered: Albania, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Channel Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroes, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Isle of Man, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madeira, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Romania, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Vatican City, New Zealand, and Australia. To opt into the promotion, text “Passport” to 97888 if you are a Pay Monthly customer or 2345 if you are on Pay as you Go.
Covet your costly and feature-rich touchscreen phones as you wish but in this day and age, forking over big bucks for a phone just isn’t always the smart way to go. While this may be one of the facts of life, carriers such as Orange are doing their best to deliver feature-rich handsets at low prices. One such device is the newly announced Orange Vegas. Available in both black and pink, the dual-band GPRS touchscreen device features a 2.4-inch display, 1.3 megapixel camera, FM radio, MP3 playback, 128MB of internal memory and support for a microSD card up to 4GB — all packed into a handset that weighs 84g. The price? A totally affordable £48.50 ($71 USD) on pay-as-you-go. The best part? When a Vegas user tops up his or her account with £10, it comes along with 300 free texts, a £10 credit and unlimited access to Bebo, Facebook and MySpace. Something tells us this thing will sell pretty darn well. The only thing we might take issue with is the choice of name — Vegas is anything but cheap and sensible.
There’s some pretty interesting news on the BlackBerry Front out of the UK this morning as T-Mobile has unveiled a “Pay Once” system to entice BlackBerry newcomers. Evidently T-Mobile’s BlackBerry in a Box offering, the Pay Once system is comprised of a one time fee of £180 ($262) that nets users not only a brand new Pearl 8110 but also unlimited email and and web for an entire year. Now as with all good things in life, there are some restrictions involved with this plan — you’re on your own for minutes and texts which must be done via the ol’ pay-as-you-go method. Still, it’s not a bad offering at all for those who type a lot more than they talk. For those interested in the Pay Once deal but completely uninterested in the SureType 8110, a T-Mobile UK spokesperson did hint that this offer could be extended to other BlackBerry handsets provided that the system is a success.
To those of you hoping Motorola’s business strategy team would be planning a bombshell to start Moto’s post-layoff announcement press on a high note, it unfortunately looks as though that won’t be the case. It won’t be the sexy Moto Flash or Calgary – hell it won’t even be the sort-of-sexy Niagra. Instead, we’re looking at a likely candidate in the EM326g. Sporting a slider form factor, textured back, 1.3 megapixel camera, Bluetooth, microSD slot and a full-sized headphone jack, this thing is about as well-equipped as the four-year-old RAZR V3i. What becomes apparent when you take a look at the back cover however, is the handset’s destination – NET10, where the EM326g is indeed an upgrade from some of the prepaid MVNO’s current offerings. If NET10 and Moto can get the price low enough however, this handset will likely do well among users looking for a slightly more stylish phone with some additional though basic features. Expect an official announcement soon.
[Via Engadget Mobile]
It looks like those with less than sparkly credit might be able to use the iPhone 3G with AT&T’s Pay-As-You-Go plans. One Erica Sadun of TUAW tried putting a PAYG SIM card into an iPhone 3G (complete with data package) and apparently it worked fine. The iPhone wasn’t pWn3d or unlocked or anything… but the iPhone 3G was activated with AT&T. Once word of this really gets out, we wonder how long it will take before Apple or AT&T fixes the “problem.” The big issue is getting your hands on an iPhone 3G in the box without contract or having to activate it in-store. We guess that those crafty, clever, and cunning enough will find a way. Has anyone else attempted to use an iPhone 3G with a PAYG SIM?
In a scathing response to European Commissioner Viviane Reding’s report on the mobile industry in Europe, Vodafone claims 40M million users, most of them “poor” pay as you go customers, may have to cancel their mobile service if her proposed changes to call termination charges go into effect. Termination charges are the fees mobile operators charge each other (and land line companies) for connecting to their networks. Currently mobile operators in Europe charge each other an average of 8 cents per minute. Reding proposes a reduction of these fees to 1 to 2 cents per minute. A reduction in fees is usually perceived as a good thing except these fees account for 15 to 20% of an operators revenue. That’s a good chunk of change for the mobile operators and the loss of that guaranteed revenue source has them, (well, at least Vodafone) shaking in their boots and spouting forth rhetoric.