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Vodafone To Sell £80 Android Phone

The 858 Smart will sell for 90 euros, and will feature Android ‘Froyo’ and access to social networking services

Vodafone is to launch a low-cost Android handset in the UK and other European markets this summer – the 858 Smart, which is expected to sell for 90 euros (£80) without a contract.

The device will launch in the UK, Germany and Italy and will run Android 2.2 ‘Froyo’, with Gmail, Google Maps, Google Talk and other standard features, as well as integrated access to social networking services such as Facebook and Twitter and Prepay Manager for topping up prepaid accounts.

Specifications

Weighing 100 grams, the Huawei-manufactured device will use a 2.8-inch touchscreen with 320×240 resolution, a 2MP zoom camera, 3G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It will use a 528MHz Qualcomm processor and comes with 130 MB of memory and a SD card slot supporting up to 32GB memory.

The handset will initially be available in black or white with other colours to come. Vodafone said it plans to offer an online customisation feature allowing users to choose their own colour and add an image to the back cover.

Last month Vodafone announced plans to launch its first own-brand Android smartphone, known as the Vodafone 845.

The device has a 2.8-inch screen and offers Wi-Fi connectivity, a 3 megapixel camera and 500MB of built-in memory. It also provides access to the Android app store and, where available, Vodafone 360 – a suite of services that gathers all of a user’s friends, communities, entertainment and media in one place. the device is not as customised as some users might have feared however.

Android is continuing to take market share away from alternatives such as Apple’s iPhone, in part due to the availability of many different options including low-cost devices. It is shipping many devices including the HTC Sensation.

Android rose to 37 percent US market share, compared with 27 percent for the iPhone through March, according to data gathered by US market researcher Nielsen. That is up eight percent from Nielsen’s 3 March report, accounting for January sales, when the researcher said Android notched 29 percent, breaking a statistical tie with Apple’s iOS and Research In Motion’s BlackBerry platforms.

Nielsen also detected a shift in user perceptions, reflected in Android’s position, which has happened rapidly in the last six months. When Nielsen surveyed mobile consumers from July to September 2010, one-third of the respondents said they wanted an iPhone, compared with 26 percent who said a handset running Android was on their shopping list.

However, when Nielsen conducted the same survey from January through March 2011, 31 percent of consumers who plan to acquire a new smartphone said they were looking to buy an Android device. This gave it a marginal lead over the iPhone which dipped to 30 percent.

Another index of the popularity of Android is the massive increase in the amount of malware circulating for the devices.

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