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AT&T set to sell $70 Crossover smartphone

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | May 31, 2011
AT&T announced that it will start selling an Android-based Pantech smartphone for under $69.99 a month with a two-year voice contract and monthly data plan.

AT&T today announced that it will begin selling Pantech's Android-based Crossover on June 5 for $69.99 with a two-year voice contract and monthly data plan.

The Crossover is the first Pantech Android device to be sold in the U.S.

Pantech Crossover
The Pantech Crossover smartphone runs the Android 2.2 operating system and is priced at $69.99.

The price set by AT&T for the Crossover, which includes a 3.1-in. touch screen and slide-out qwerty keyboard, is low compared with the $250 to $300 price tags for other recently unveiled high-end Android smartphones from manufacturers like Samsung, HTC and Motorola. The latter devices offer more powerful processors and higher screen resolution than the Crossover.

The Pantech model, while much cheaper than some other Android phones, still offers AT&T an opportunity to lock in a new customers to two-year voice and data contracts. The minimum data plan goes for $15 per month for 200MB. If users exceed 200MB, AT&T automatically charges $15 for another 200MB.

AT&T said the Pantech Crossover is "perfect for first-time smartphone users," which correlates to the marketing strategy all the carriers use to initiate mostly younger cellphone users with the data and browsing capabilities of smartphones.

"This Crossover works to AT&T's advantage big-time," noted Jack Gold, an analyst at J.Gold Associates. "AT&T doesn't make much on the hardware anyway, relying instead on voice service and data plans, and if they have a low-cost offering, they will hit a new class of subscribers. And the difference between $70 and $300 is important to some buyers."

The Pantech Crossover runs a 600MHz processor, compared to the 1GHz or even dual-core 2GHz processors in the higher-end smartphones. The dual-core chips are helpful for graphics and video tasks.

The Pantech device does offer users a 3-megapixel digital camera with camcorder, and a 2GB microSD memory card that can be upgraded to 32GB. Pantech and AT&T didn't disclose the screen resolution, although an AT&T spokeswoman acknowledged that it is lower than that of some of the more expensive smartphones that the company sells.

The 1500 mAh lithium-ion battery might be considered slight when compared to more expensive smartphones. AT&T said the Crossover's battery gets up to five hours of active use, compared to the eight hours or more sought by many users.

The Crossover runs Android 2.2 and supports HSPA and GSM cellular networks as well as Wi-Fi. It is 4.45 x 2.28 x 0.56 in. and weighs 5.15 oz., making it heavier than some other smartphones.


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