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It is often market leading mobiles such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and HTC Sensation XE which get the lion`s share of the attention from consumer publications and reviewers, simply because they represent the cutting edge technology that makes the headlines and drives web traffic. However, network provider Orange and manufacturer ZTE are launching a new handset to prove that affordability can be attractive.

The Orange San Francisco II has recently been revealed by accident online and now a few key details are known about this budget-oriented Android smartphone. It is likely to be known as the ZTE Racer II for anyone who wants to buy it SIM free, following on from the name of its unlocked predecessor.

The San Francisco II will reportedly feature a 3.5 inch display with a native resolution of 800x480. This is essentially the same screen that was used on the first San Francisco handset, but since this was one of its strongest assets it would have made little sense to change it and you will be hard pressed to get a larger, higher quality display on a pay as you go smartphone such as this.

From a software point of view it looks as if the San Francisco II will feature Android 2.3, modified with only a few minor tweaks by the network but otherwise left largely identical to the standard experience created by Google. Again this is a good thing, since it means that you get all the features you want and none which you do not need.

To make Android 2.3 feel fast and responsive ZTE has endowed this updated mobile with an 800MHz processor. This is a full 30 per cent faster than the CPU which powered the original and it should hum along nicely, even if it cannot quite keep up with all of the dual core toting smartphones on the market at the moment.

A five megapixel sensor has been endowed upon the Orange San Francisco II`s rear facing camera and there is an LED flash to provide illumination for night shots. The cheapest way to get this handset will likely be direct from Orange, although ZTE will have an own-brand SIM free edition on the market at some point.

The Orange San Francisco II will be a good alternative to the more expensive Monte Carlo, also created in unison with ZTE. The 4.3 inch display of the Monte Carlo may be larger, but it makes it a little harder to pop into your pocket or purse, unlike the San Francisco II.

Many people forget that the best mobile phone deals are often nabbed by those who are willing to pay for their handset upfront. It can be difficult to achieve this if you want to buy a high end handset and many resort to using a fixed term contract, which can cost more in the long term even if the initial outlay is less. The Orange San Francisco II shows that entry level Android smartphones do not have to be small, underpowered or out of date.

Categories: Orange

HTC Hero Tipped For Orange UK Launch


There's good news for Android fans in the UK following speculation that the HTC Hero will be launched by Orange UK. Although unconfirmed, this does seem likely as back in March there was a fairly credible report that the Hero was going to be picked up by Orange France.

As yet there is no official confirmation and nothing mentioned on Orange UK's website as far as I can tell so I guess we'll just have to wait and see if this one pans out.

Source: Mobile Today

Categories: HTC | Orange

HTC Hero Android Phone Coming To AT&T This October?

ATT Logo

New information on HTC's Android Hero has surfaced over on xda-developers. According to the post, an employee at a wireless developer firm "just received word from the US carrier (cannot disclose who yet) that the release date for the HTC Hero (Android) is October 11th 2009."

Now I don't usually give these kinds of unsubstantiated posts too much credence but a few things got my attention. Firstly, the forum member's provider is AT&T. That, in itself, is meaningless but consider the following. Last month fairly credible news surfaced that the HTC Hero had been picked up by Orange. Now considering that Orange and AT&T are GlobalView partners, it seems logical, at least in my view, that the undisclosed carrier is in fact AT&T. Until I hear otherwise, that is my assumption and if it's true, that means AT&T subscribers may have to wait another six months before they get an Android phone.

Categories: HTC | Orange | AT&T

Sony Ericsson Rumours Continue

Sony Ericsson

After being out of the news for some time now (certainly as far as Android is concerned) this seems to be Sony Ericsson's week in the spotlight as more Android-related news comes to light.

After last weeks quote by Sony Ericssons' CEO seemed to put the breaks on the company's Android plans, a short post by DigiTimes claims that according to the Chinese Commercial Times newspaper, Orange will be launching a Sony Ericsson Android phone in time for the 2009 year-end holiday season. While some see that as pure speculation it does actually make sense and backs up a similar report which first surfaced last month. Looks like we can't rule Sony Ericsson out of the Android phone race just yet.

Source: DigiTimes

Categories: Sony Ericsson | Orange

HTC Hero Android Phone Surfaces With Orange


Rumours of HTC's Android Hero phone surfaced in the middle of February this year when HTC's supposed 2009 line-up was revealed on ppcgeeks. We haven't heard much about it since but it looks like the Hero has finally been picked up by Orange.

Orange France has already released the G1 as the HTC Dream (they couldn't use the G1 branding as T-Mobile has exclusive rights to that) and now, according to Mobinaute, they will be following that up with the HTC Hero. But that's not all - they reckon that the Hero will be followed by another Android smartphone a few weeks after that. Orange is definitely on a mission here and is keen to capitalise on what they see as the revenue potential of the Android Market.

Even more interesting, although this could be speculation, is that by the end of this year, Orange, in addition to HTC, plans to have Android phones from Motorola, LG, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. That last one especially comes as a welcome surprise as Sony Ericsson, although a member of the Open Handset Alliance, seems to have been very quiet on the Android front this year.

On the OS front, word is that Orange will be releasing the cupcake update for the HTC Dream by the end of April and a second "major update" a month later. Sounds mighty interesting.

Source: Mobinaute

Orange To Release The G1 In France This Week


It looks like Orange want to get a bit of a head start and grab themselves some market share before Vodafone's HTC Magic launch this April. This comes as we hear news that Orange France is to release the original G1 as the Orange Dream as early as this week.

According to SVM, the Orange Dream will cost 99 € on a 24 month Origami Star Plus, 42 € per month contract.

Via: SVM

Categories: Orange

Google G1 Is A Hit For T-Mobile


According to a recent post on UK's Mobile Today, T-Mobile is crediting the Google G1 as part of the reason why they incurred minimal losses in 2008. The G1, launched in October last year turned out to be the operator's top selling launch and now accounts for 20% of all contract sales. I think 20% is pretty good when you consider that the G1 is up against phones like the popular Nokia N96 and the Samsung Tocco, both of which are also available free on similarly priced plans, and this kind of uptake can only help to encourage further Android rollouts this year.

No doubt Vodafone is keeping a close eye on the G1's sales, hoping to emulate T-Mobile's success when the HTC Magic is released in April. Now I guess we just have to wait and see if/when Orange and O2 follow suit in the UK. If a post on Basic Thinking is anything to go by, O2 is the next operator to keep an eye on. According to the post, an O2 product manager at O2 Innovation Days 2009 in Munich was quoted as saying, "we want to get out 6 to 8 Android devices this year." If that is the case we really are going to be spoilt for choice.

Via: MobileToday | Basic Thinking

Categories: O2 | Orange | T-Mobile | Vodafone
Samsung I7500
O2 Samsung I7500
HTC Magic
Vodafone HTC Magic
Google G1
T-Mobile Google G1