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T-Mobile Pulse: First pay as you go Android phone

T-Mobile this morning announced the Pulse, the first pay as you go Android phone -- it'll be out next month for less than half the price of an iPhone. Can a cheap Android phone really succeed?

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Jason Jenkins
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T-Mobile this morning announced the Pulse, the first pay as you go Android phone. Available for £180 in October, it has an 89mm (3.5-inch) touchscreen display -- the biggest yet on an Android handset.

The Pulse is rocking a 3.2-megapixel camera with autofocus and video capture. There's a decent 2GB of memory for pics 'n' choons, expandable with microSD. GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and HSDPA shore up the connectivity front, while vital statistics of 130g weight and 210 minutes talktime complete the picture.

RoadSync comes pre-installed, so business types can access their Exchange email and calendars on the move, along with something called Canvas. This lets you customise six different home screens with widgets, adding extra ones in a couple of clicks and then dragging them around to your heart's content.

Internet access costs £5 per month or £1 per day on pay as you go. There are plans to offer the Pulse on contract, but prices are yet to be decided.

There's a mini-USB socket at the top, although there's no proper 3.5mm headphone jack. It comes with a 2GB microSD memory card installed, and supports cards up to 8GB. You can remove them easily by opening a flap on the left.

Canvas Android screen

The Pulse is being manufactured by Huawei, best known here until now for making those extremely cheap 3G dongles that plug into your computer. Huawei has chosen a Qualcomm MSM 7200A chipset to power the whole shebang.

We had a quick play with the Pulse this morning, and it isn't half bad. It feels considerably cheaper than our current Android favourite, the HTC Hero, but considering the price we'd be quite happy with the way it feels if we bought one.

The Canvas home screens (pictured left) are a little tricky to get your head around -- you need to hold down the trackball to see them, which isn't very obvious. We also had a few problems getting the icons to move around in the way we wanted, but nothing too major.

We didn't have enough time with the Pulse to say whether the phone is fast enough to deal with all the video, music and Internet things it's going to have to do, but the touchscreen seemed responsive. We'll have a full review on the site closer to the launch date, but until then, have a click through the photo gallery to see the official pics.

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There's a 3.2-megapixel camera at the back of the T-Mobile Pulse, with auto focus.
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A small video camera at the top right of the screen means the T-Mobile Pulse supports video calls.
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The T-Mobile Android family from left to right: G1, Pulse and G2.

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