Little known Chinese company Huawei has certainly made a splash at the low-end of the Australian mobile phone market. Its latest low-cost smartphone is the IDEOS X1 Android phone, and it will sell through Optus for just $99.
The Huawei X1 runs the 2.2 'Froyo' version of Google's Android operating system, has a 2.8in capacitive touchscreen display and a 3.2-megapixel camera that records standard definition video. The Huawei IDEOS X1 also has the standard connectivity suite of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.
At this point you're probably asking what the catch is. With the IDEOS X1, it happens to be the same catch as most other low-cost Android phones — Huawei has made most of the cuts in the phones design, its processor, its memory and its display. Compared to higher priced Android smartphones, the IDEOS X1 has a smaller, low resolution display (320x240), is constructed from plastic rather than metal or aluminium, and has a modest processor (single-core, 528MHz) and limited memory (256MB RAM). At this price however, it's hard to complain with the X1's limitations.
The Huawei IDEOS X1 will be sold exclusively through Optus, and will be a direct competitor to Telstra's Smart-Touch Android phone, which also sells for $99. However, the IDEOS X1 holds one significant advantage over Telstra's Smart-Touch: it has a capacitive rather than resistive touch screen, so it should be far more responsive to use, especially when it comes to text input using the on-screen keyboard.
Huawei also says that the IDEOS X1 offers a "better experience than other entry-level smartphones — both practically and aesthetically," though we're not sure exactly what part of its all-plastic design sets it apart.
The Huawei IDEOS X1 will be available exclusively through Optus from 1 July, and will sell for $99.