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Two sub-$80 Android smartphones coming this June

Samsung smartphones the Exhibit 4G and Gravity Smart coming to T-Mobile USA

Two more sub-$80 Android smartphones will hit the market this month on T-Mobile USA, giving the carrier a way to attract new, young users to two-year service contracts that will help bolster revenues.

The new Samsung Exhibit 4G will cost $79.99 after rebate, while the Samsung Gravity Smart will cost $69.99 after rebate for the red and blue versions and $29.99 for the gray version. All require a two-year voice and data plan, which can total more than $2,000 over two years, depending on the plan.

T-Mobile's strategy with low-cost smartphones is similar to that of other major U.S. carriers, including AT&T, which recently announced it would sell the Android-based Pantech Crossover beginning Sunday for $69.99 with a two-year voice contract and monthly data plan.

Analysts have predicted a number of low-cost smartphones , many running Android , will flood the market in coming months to attract a class of buyers that might not pay $200 to $300 for a premium-class smartphone such as the HTC Sensation 4G that T-Mobile announced just this week.

Many of the lower-cost smartphones will be built by companies that are not well known in the U.S. for selling smartphones, such as Pantech, analysts noted. For all the wireless carriers, the price advertised for the smartphone is not as important as signing up a new customer to a two-year plan, analysts noted. Often, carriers subsidize the cost of the device, which can run to more than $500 for a smartphone that is unlocked from any carrier.

The more expensive of the two T-Mobile smartphones, the Samsung Exhibit 4G, runs the latest Android smartphone OS, Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread. It also features a 1 GHz processor, which is fairly standard for today's smartphones, although well below the dual-core 1.2 GHz processor in the HTC Sensation that many have dubbed a superphone.

The Exhibit's 3.7-in. touchscreen has 800 x 480 resolution. It also has two cameras that support a video chat application, and the rear-facing camera is 3 megapixels.

The Samsung Gravity Smart runs Android 2.2 and features a slide-out physical keyboard as well as a 3.2-in. touch-screen display. It has a single 3-megapixel camera and an 800 MHz processor. Other details on the two phones were unavailable.

Both Samsung phones are exclusive to T-Mobile. The carrier only said they are available sometime in June.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about smartphones in Computerworld's Smartphones Topic Center.


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