‘Android for everybody’ is the theme of this holiday season, with a barrage of affordable and entry-level smartphones launching on all four carriers. A few high-end phones were unveiled at this fall’s CTIA show as well, including the latest T-Mobile MyTouch and the Motorola Droid Pro.
1.Motorola Droid Pro for Verizon
Watch out, RIM: Motorola is out to get your enterprise customers. The first Droid model to sport a vertical physical keyboard, the Droid Pro is made for one-handed texting. I was able to bang out a few messages, and I was pleased with how comfortable the keyboard felt. The Pro packs a slew of features for business users, too, including VPN support for multiple profiles, enhanced data encryption, a built-in task manager (so you don’t need to download a third-party manager), remote-wipe capabilities, Exchange-based device management, and advanced password protection.
2.Motorola Citrus for Verizon
The Citrus, coming to Verizon later this year, is one of the many entry-level Android phones we saw from Motorola. The first ecofriendly Android phone, the Citrus is 25 percent post-consumer recycled plastic. Sporting a cute curved design, this full-touchscreen phone also has a touchpad on its back for additional navigation controls.The Citrus ships with Android 2.1 (unfortunately not the latest version of Android), sports a 3-inch display, and comes with all of the Google features you expect from Android.
3.Motorola Flipout for AT&T
The most creative of the phones we saw at CTIA, the Flipout has a pivot design with a full-QWERTY keyboard. You can customize the Flipout with colored back plates, making it a truly distinctive phone. The Flipout comes equipped with Android 2.1 running the latest version of MotoBlur, Motorola’s CrystalTalk noise-cancellation technology, and a 3-megapixel camera. The Flipout will be available later this year.
4.Pantech Laser for AT&T
Android phones were all the rage at this year’s CTIA, but a few non-smartphones launched at the show, too. Coming to AT&T on October 17, the Pantech Laser is an ideal phone for anyone who wants to stay connected via text, e-mail, or social networks, but doesn’t need Web or app access. The Laser has a gorgeous 3.1-inch AMOLED display, a technology we generally see on higher-end devices. The Laser is also incredibly slim; according to Pantech, it is the thinnest keyboard phone that AT&T offers.
5.Sanyo Zio for Sprint
Pocket- and wallet-friendly, the $100 Sanyo Zio for Sprint is a solid entry-level Android phone. Lightweight, slender, and attractive, the phone runs the no-frills vanilla Android 2.1. Of course, affordability means some trade-offs: The Zio’s build feels a bit cheap, and its performance lagged in my informal hands-on tests.
6.LG Optimus S for Sprint
The Optimus S, $50 with a two-year contract from Sprint, has a 3.2-inch touchscreen and a 3.2-megapixel camera. It is fairly basic in features, but it ships with Android 2.2 and comes with Sprint’s Mobile Hotspot for connecting five Wi-Fi devices. The Optimus S goes on sale October 31.
7.Samsung Transform for Sprint
The Transform ($150 with a two-year Sprint contract), with its slide-out QWERTY keyboard, is sort of like the Epic 4G’s younger sibling. One big difference between the Galaxy S phones and this one, however, is that it runs vanilla Android 2.1–yup, no TouchWiz skin for this Samsung phone. When I met with Sprint about the new phones, representatives told me that all Android phones with Sprint ID (a new offering that packages mobile apps into collections) will not have overlays atop the OS.
8.LG Optimus T for T-Mobile
Like most Android phones available today, the LG Optimus T runs a proprietary skin over the OS. You get seven homescreens to customize with widgets and shortcuts (which almost seems excessive), and the LG App Organizer. The Optimus T also has a feature called Voice Actions, which lets you use voice commands to control the phone. The Optimus T isn’t all that exciting specs-wise. It sports a 3.2-inch display and a 3.2-megapixel camera, and comes with Swype for faster touch keyboard typing, plus all of the usual Google programs.
9.Motorola Defy for T-Mobile
Can a rugged phone be sexy? The Motorola Defy lives up to its name and breaks that stereotype. This phone is dust-, water-, and scratch-resistant, but still attractive with its bright 3.7-inch display and sleek case. The Defy ships with the latest version of MotoBlur and runs Android 2.1. It also boasts Motorola’s excellent CrystalTalk technology for voice with noise cancellation.
We briefly got our hands on the T-Mobile G2, which is now available for preorder from T-Mobile for $200 with a two-year contract. Running Android 2.2, the G2 has a 3.7-inch WVGA display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, 4GB of on-board storage, HD video capture, and an expandable SD Card slot. The G2 is one of two phones that will run on T-Mobile’s speedy HSPA+ network. The keyboard is nicely designed, a huge improvement over its clumsy predecessor on the T-Mobile G1. We also liked how fast the phone was, both over the HSPA+ network and in general performance.
11.T-Mobile MyTouch (Newest Version)
The latest version of the T-Mobile MyTouch is unlike any of the older MyTouch models. For one thing, it supports T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network for faster data speeds. It also boasts a front-facing video camera, HD video recording, and a stylish, high-quality design. This is one phone we can’t wait to try.