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Sprint debuts $100 Android phones from Motorola and HTC

Oct 20, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Sprint unveiled two $100 Android 2.3 smartphones with 1.2GHz processors. The rugged Motorola Admiral offers a 3.1-inch screen and exposed keyboard, and operates on Sprint's Direct Connect push-to-talk network, and the HTC Evo Design 4G is a four-inch “worldphone” that supports Sprint's 4G WiMAX network.

While the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid Razr smartphones captured the most headlines this week in the mobile market, Sprint unveiled two new Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" smartphones: the Motorola Admiral and the HTC Evo Design 4G. 

The Admiral and Evo Design 4G (pictured at right) have several things in common. Both incorporate unnamed, single-core 1.2GHz processors to run Android 2.3 "Gingerbread." There's no word about whether they'll ever get an update to the new Android 4.0 ("Ice Cream Sandwich").

In addition, both cost $100 on contract after $50 mail-in rebates. That price tag should appeal to the echelon of consumers wary of paying $200 to $300 for high-end smartphones.

Motorola Admiral

The Admiral goes on sale Nov. 13, featuring a 3.1-inch VGA (640 x 480 pixel) touchscreen display, as well as an exposed QWERTY keyboard. The handset will leverage the Sprint 3G network for its Direct Connect push-to-talk capabilities. Motorola has long made push-to-talk phones for the network, including the Motorola i1.

If the Admiral's title seems more like a rank, it's with good reason. The smartphone meets the 810G military standard for dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, low pressure, and high and low temperatures, according to Sprint. It also offers a Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen to fend off scratches.

The Admiral is equipped with 4GB internal storage, as well as a 32GB-ready microSD card. It also offers a five-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, as well as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, says Sprint.

In addition, the phone provides 3G Mobile Hotspot capability for up to five Wi-Fi devices, says the carrier. The 4.71-ounce Admiral also offers a 1860 mAh battery, claimed to offer up to nine hours talk time.

The Admiral offers a full suite of Google mobile services and apps, says Sprint. It is also said to support push delivery of Microsoft Exchange email and manageability via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Server. That includes password support, remote wipe and data encryption, PIN and password lock support, and additional data encryption for both the device and microSD card.

 HTC Evo Design 4G

Available Oct. 23, HTC's Evo Design 4G also has a 1.2GHz processor, but it is designed to run on Sprint's faster, 4G WiMAX network. The Evo Design 4G (pictured at right and earlier above) is also a world phone, which means users may make and receive calls, as well as send email and text messages, from just about anywhere.

Like its HTC Evo predecessors, the 5.2-ounce Evo Design 4G has a large touchscreen — in this case a four-inch qHD (960 x 540) display — encased in an aluminum unibody design. The phone ships with an 8GB microSD card.

The Evo Design 4G also offers a five-megapixel, rear-facing camera with HD video recording and a 1.3-megapixel front -facing camera for video chats, says Sprint. The phone supplies GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, and Wi-Fi, and it works with the $30 a month 3G/4G mobile hotspot, but for up to eight devices instead of five. Various sensors are available, and the 1520 mAh battery is said to provide up to six hours' talk time.

The phone's Android 2.3 operating system is accompanied with the HTC Sense user interface stack, as well as a full range of Google mobile services and apps.


The Motorola Admiral goes on sale Nov. 13 for $100, after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a two year contract. The phone requires activation on one of Sprint's unlimited data plans, starting at $60 per month with a $10 per month premium smartphone surcharge. The mobile hotspot is available for an additional $30 per month with up to 5GB of data.

The HTC Evo Design 4G goes on sale Oct. 23 for $100, after a $50 mail-in rebate, with a two year contract. The phone requires a subscription to the Sprint Everything Data plan, at $70 per month, plus the $10 smartphone data charge, says Sprint.

More information may be found on Sprint's Motorola Admiral and Evo Design 4G fact sheet pages, respectively.

Clint Boulton is a writer for eWEEK.

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