If the cost of a handset has left you tentative about dipping your toes into the smartphone pool, here’s your chance to dive in without draining your bank account.
Today, AT&T officially announced the dirt-cheap Huawei Impulse 4G, an Android 2.2-running smartphone aimed at those of you clinging to your feature phones. It’s got a $30 price tag with a two-year service agreement, which is as low as $15 a month for 200 megabytes of data. You’ll probably spend more than that on coffee this week, making the Impulse 4G a great entry-level rig for someone who wants a smartphone and doesn’t anticipate quickly becoming a data hog.
Features-wise, the Impulse 4G has a 3.8-inch WVGA (800 x 480 resolution) touch display, a 5-megapixel camera with the ability to record 720p video and an 800 MHz Qualcomm processor. Again, nothing wow-tastic, but more than adequate for someone switching to their first smartphone.
The Impulse comes as smartphone manufacturers and carriers have tried to entice the significant part of the population — 60% of cellphone owners — who still use feature phones. Sprint unveiled the $100 Samsung Conquer 4G in August, for example, and even Apple is said to be getting into the game amid rumors of a cheaper, 8 gig iPhone 4S expected next month. Apple CEO Tim Cook has helped fuel those rumors by saying, “price is a big factor in the prepaid market,” and Apple is “not ceding any market.”
Neither is AT&T, apparently. According to Nielsen, 55 percent of people who bought a cellphone in the last 3 months chose a smartphone, which means a lot of people are upgrading from feature phones. AT&T is making that transition seamless and attractive budget-wise, and offering options for those who want a smartphone, but don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles of something like an iPhone or flagship Nexus.
“Folks with feature phones tell us the main reason they chose their current phone is price. So as smartphone prices continue to go down, we can expect more of them to upgrade,” says Don Kellogg, director of telecom and insights at Nielsen.
Huawei’s Impulse 4G also includes the standard Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS, and will chug along on AT&T’s 4G HSPA+ network.
The Impulse 4G will be available on AT&T September 18th.