It's about half what it's nearest competitor costs without a contract.
I'm currently shopping for a new phone, as my Nexus One keeps shutting off at random and a new battery didn't fix it. Since I don't want a contract, I'll be paying full price...I would love to buy this phone instead of a Nexus S or Galaxy S or other recent HTC phones. I'm limiting myself to phones that are easily rooted, since I like a stock Android OS rather than the ones that carriers have screwed up (I also rely on the WiFi hotspot feature occasionally, and I'm not paying $20/mo extra for it on trop of the already outrageous data rates). If this phone were available in the US today for $310, I would buy it today, without a bit of hesitation. There's nothing even close to that price point with those kind of specs.
I have the Virgin Mobile LG Optima V, which is $150 now and goes on sale for less periodically. That's $150 unsubsidized and with a month-to-month, no contract plan. It's not the greatest phone in the world but I'm largely satisfied with cost/performance tradeoff.
Are locked phones really unsubsidized? Not $200 subsidy, obviously, but maybe $50 or $100, considering that Virgin expects you to use it with a $30+ monthly plan and would treat it as a customer acquisition cost.
As I understand subsidized vs. unsubsidized, yes it is. I can buy the phone without entering into a contract. I can terminate service with VM after 30 days. I can sell the phone to someone else who can choose to buy service from VM or not.
True it isn't unlocked, but I'm not aware of anyone saying unsubsidized == unlocked.
It is worth splitting hairs because AT&T and Verizon are guaranteed to either make $75+/mo (it was $110 for my minimal minutes plan) for 2+ years OR a $200+ cancellation fee to make up for the cost of the phone.
You can buy a Virgin mobile phone and never activate it. You can stop paying without penalty after your first month. That's unsubsidised.
OTOH, Virgin USA may still be subsidizing it (by charging below cost), and just willing to take a loss if you never activate it. Since it only works on the Virgin network anyways, this isn't a risky gamble.
A $99 unlocked phone would be both, IMO. Just like the TouchPad went ionospheric at that price, the sub $100 phone with that kind of power would likely do the same.
The issue isn't just carrier subsidy in this case, having an uber-cheap Android phone will open up huge markets that are currently underserved by smart phones (Africa, anyone?). There are projects afoot that would greatly benefit from seriously cheap, capable hardware right now--my friend is working on a water finder project for rural areas in poor countries (think Botswana in the sticks) to help track well quality and production. This is a huge issue for these areas and having something that is as powerful as Android with GPS and network capabilities is a game changer.
At $310, that's a harder sell. At $99, it's a no brainer.
I'm not sure. The Touchpad broke that way because it was a $600 device that was all of a sudden $99. People were anchored on "this is an expensive device" and all of a sudden it was supremely affordable.
A straight up $99 phone certainly wouldn't have quite the appeal. I do think you'd sell a bunch of them, but nothing like the touchpad.
"A $99 unlocked phone would be both, IMO. Just like the TouchPad went ionospheric at that price, the sub $100 phone with that kind of power would likely do the same."
It might, but I do not think it is a given. By the time it is economically feasible to sell such a phone for that price, the bar may have been raised to 'require' more power. Phones cost a couple of hundred dollar not only because of technical limitations, but also because that is what 'we' want to pay. Just like what happened with PCs, the prices may (and probably will) come down eventually, but I think that may be a few years in the future yet. For example, I would prefer a 3D or even holographic screen over a cheaper phone. I also think there will be applications of realtime image processing that will make 'us' prefer a faster phone at the same price over the current one at a lower price.
Yes, I don't either. I'm currently using a ZTE Blade. 600 MHz ARM 11 processor (Cortex-A would have been nice), Adreno 200 GPU, 512 MB RAM, a nice 480 x 800 screen and all the usual stuff like WiFi, GPS, etc. I'm running Android 2.2.
Sure, I've seen faster Android phones, but it feels quite responsive and it's usable. Angry Birds works ok. It cost me 90 quid, that's $140.
Yes, you can record sound from the built-in microphone. The app I have seems to record 3gpp @ 8kHz, 12.8 kbit. No idea if you can record with a higher sampling rate. I haven't used it before, but the recording sounds way better than a typical phone call.