Sprint on Friday unveiled the Samsung Conquer 4G, an Android smartphone that will be available for purchase Aug. 21.
The Conquer 4G is the first 4G smartphone from Sprint launched at less than US$100.
It has a 1 GHz processor, front and rear cameras, runs Android 2.3 (Gingerbread), and comes with Sprint ID widgets, shortcuts, ringtones and wallpapers.
Despite the price, the Samsung Conquer 4G is not just a cheapo smartphone that will offer only basic services.
“From a hardware point of view, it’s a smartphone people can glom onto easily,” Ramon Llamas, a senior analyst at IDC, told TechNewsWorld.
The Conquer 4G is “a good device that’s on par with other devices,” Llamas added. “It’s basically what people would expect.”
“The Conquer 4G enables us to bring a great 4G device to our customers,” Sprint spokesperson Natalie Papaj told TechNewsWorld. “We have been offering 4G for over a year now and have realized some cost savings.”
The Samsung Conquer 4G’s Tech Specs
The Conquer 4G has an enhanced 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen, a 3.2 MP rear-facing camera with flash and zoom, and a 1.3 MP front-facing camera for video chat.
It’s a dual-mode 3G/4G device, meaning it runs on 3G and, where 4G is available, on the faster network.
The Conquer 4G can serve as a mobile hotspot for up to five WiFi-enabled devices on either Sprint’s 3G or 4G networks.
It has a Sprint ID customizable user interface.
The Conquer 4G also comes with various Google mobile services preinstalled. These include Google Search, Google Maps, Google Talk, Gmail and YouTube.
Further, the device syncs with Google Calendar and provides owners access to Google Goggles.
The Conquer 4G supports WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and GPS. It has Stereo Bluetooth wireless technology. It has a microSD card that supports up to 32GB of storage and comes with a 2GB card. It measures about 4.6 by 2.4 by 0.5 inches and weighs just over 4 ounces.
Measuring Up in the Smartphone Market
In terms of its spec sheet, the Conquer 4G doesn’t seem to have any standout, glaring deficiencies compared to most other Android phones.
“The 1GHz processor and Android 2.3 are normal,” IDC’s Llamas said.
“The 3.5-inch screen is a bit small; most other smartphones have 4-inch screens,” Llamas pointed out. However, it’s the same size as the iPhone’s screen, he added.
That won’t really be a disadvantage because “first-time smartphone buyers probably won’t shy away from the device because of its screen size,” Llamas remarked.
A $99 smartphone doesn’t necessarily have to be inferior to more expensive devices, Llamas suggested.
“The mindset for what a $99 smartphone should be is a little skewed,” Llamas said.
The HTC Inspire, which was launched by AT&T at $99 is “the same as the Verizon Thunderbolt 4G, with the exception of LTE capability, but the Thunderbolt costs $250,” Llamas pointed out.
Although a $100 4G smartphone may sound like a good deal, stiff competition may make the Conquer 4G less of a bargain than it may appear at first glance.
A quick check on the Internet showed an HTC Evo 4G listed for a single penny at Amazon.com and for $20 at Wirefly.
The white HTC Evo 4G is available from Best Buy at $100.
Some of the Evo’s specs outgun the Conquer’s. The HTC Evo 4G has a 4.3-inch WVGA capacitive multitouch screen, an 8MP rear camera with auto focus and 2 LED flashes, and a 1.3 MP fixed focus front facing camera.
It has an HDMI port, and supports Amazon MP3 music downloads.
The HTC Evo 4G measures 4.8 by 2.6 by 0.5 inches and weighs six ounces.