Cricket launches budget Android handset

Positioned as a low-cost device, Cricket's Huawei Ascend won't wow in the features department, but it comes with all the usual Android offerings.

Huawei Ascend Huawei

Cricket Wireless continued its dive into Android today with the announcement of the Huawei Ascend. The Ascend is the prepaid carrier's second Android smartphone after the Sanyo Zio, which went on sale last month.

Positioned as a low-cost device, the Ascend won't wow in the features department, but it comes with all the usual Android offerings, such as Wi-Fi, a 3.2-megapixel camera, an MP3 player, Bluetooth, a MicroSD card slot, and support for the carrier's 3G EV-DO network. We're glad to see that it runs Android 2.1 (Eclair) rather than the 1.6 version of the OS that came on the Zio.

The design is equally simple, though that's hardly a bad thing. It lacks a physical keyboard so the 3.5-inch screen will be your main interface point for accessing the menu, dialing the phone, browsing the Internet, and using the various features. Naturally, you'll need to use a virtual keyboard for e-mails and messages.

The Ascend will be available later this month for $149. That's a very fair price given that Cricket does not require contracts. The $55 per-month unlimited data plan for voice, text, and data is equally affordable.

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