Samsung Transform

Sanyo Zio  (Source:

LG Optimus S
$50 will soon buy a Froyo-touting smartphone

On the heels of Motorola's announcement of seven upcoming, low- to mid-level Android devices -- none of which are slated for Sprint -- the nation's third-largest carrier is responding with three new Android devices of its own, ranging in price from $50 to $150.

Engadget reports that the Samsung Transform and the Sanyo Zio will be available from Sprint this week -- October 10, to be exact -- while the LG Optimus S is set to launch later this month.

The Transform is a smaller, lower-end version of the full-QWERTY Epic 4G (Sprint's Samsung Galaxy S variant). The Transform's processor is a bit weaker than its big brother's (800 MHz vs. 1 GHz), its screen is smaller (3.5" vs. 4"), it runs a vanilla version of Android 2.1 (no TouchWiz), and it's not being touted as the "Transform 4G," so don't expect to be able to connect to Sprint's burgeoning WiMAX network. The device is a full $100 cheaper than the Epic, and "Transformers" won't be required to pay the much-maligned $10 4G surcharge Sprint collects from EVO and Epic users. 

The Sanyo Zio (pronounced ZEE-O) has been called "a remarkably good phone" by AndroidCentral, especially considering its $100 price point (after $100 mail-in rebate). The Zio is a light, slab-style phone with a 3.5" WVGA touchscreen, a trackball for added OS navigation, and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It has been seen running Android 2.1.

Finally, excitement is building for the low-end LG Optimus S because it is perhaps the cheapest device soon-to-be on the market ($50 after $100 mail-in) that is rocking Android 2.2 "Froyo" out of the box. The Optimus S sports a 3.2" touchscreen, 3.2-megapixel camera, and has Mobile Hotspot capabilities for up to five devices (sharing its 3G connection). It is set to launch on Halloween.

Other than price and hardware, the three devices will ship with the all new Sprint ID -- a pre-packaged combo of apps, themes, and settings designed for different users that you can install from Sprint's Android market with one click.

The Android OS, which has already taken a dominant stance in the smartphone market, is making a populist appeal to the masses of feature phone users who have been on the fence because of price concerns. It will be interesting to see how the glut of new Android phones fares against the upcoming Windows Phone 7 devices in the hotly contested holiday season.

"Nowadays you can buy a CPU cheaper than the CPU fan." -- Unnamed AMD executive

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