Samsung has announced a new mobile phone to add to its already massive range of Android devices, but rather than being a super-special, top-of-the-range monster, it’s a very ordinary handset with a set of basic features. If you’re wondering why you should care, it’s because it’s Samsung’s response to the growing threat of a cheap Windows Phone.
The phone in question is the Samsung Galaxy Pocket, and it runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread which is displayed on a 2.8-inch touchscreen with a 320 x 240 pixel resolution. An 832Mhz processor can be found inside, while a 2-megapixel camera can be found on the rear of the phone’s casing. Just 3GB of internal memory is on hand to store your pictures, music and apps.
Other features include Wi-Fi, 3G with HSDPA connectivity, a microSD card slot to increase the storage by up to 32GB, plus an FM radio too. Android is covered in Samsung’s TouchWiz skin, and there’s the usual array of the company’s apps too, including the cross-platform messenger service called ChatON.
At 12mm thick and 97 grams in weight, the Galaxy Pocket screams “I’m very, very average” at passers-by. Which is exactly what a lot of consumers want, especially as the Pocket will be very, very cheap too.
How cheap? Samsung hasn’t said yet, but as the aging S5570 Galaxy Mini — which has a slightly larger screen and a better camera — can be had for £100/$140 unlocked, there’s a good chance it’ll be available for double-figures in both currencies.
There are plenty of bargain Android phones already on the market, but most are branded by a network or wear less desirable brand names. Samsung has plenty of cache, a fact backed up by its status as the world’s number one smartphone manufacturer.
Android too, is astonishingly popular, and although many will lust after the Galaxy S II and all its competitors, most will just be looking for a cheap phone for themselves, their family or as a second handset.
You probably know all this already, as it was revealed at Mobile World Congress that there are now 850,000 new Android activations per day, a figure which speaks for itself.
Windows Phone Tango will drop the minimum spec requirements needed to run the OS, and in turn the price of the hardware will drop too. But the Lumia 610 is going to cost £160/$250 unlocked, and even though it has a better camera and larger screen than the Pocket, it still represents the cheapest Windows Phone option.
Down at this end of the pricing scale, cheaper means better and at the moment, Windows Phone doesn’t have an answer for phones such as the Galaxy Pocket.
Nokia has its Asha series of smart feature phones which can easily compete with the Galaxy Pocket, except they run on Nokia’s Series 40. It’s perfectly suited to this level, but as it isn’t really a smartphone OS, it doesn’t have quite the same customer pull as Android.
The Lumia 610 is cheap, but it looks like Microsoft will need to make Windows Phone even cheaper if it wants to truly compete with Android.