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AT&T set to sell $70 Crossover smartphone

Matt Hamblen, Computerworld | May 31, 2011
AT&T announced that it will start selling an Android-based Pantech smartphone for under $69.99 a month with a two-year voice contract and monthly data plan.

The Crossover gets some high-end credibility because it can serve as a Wi-Fi hot spot for up to five devices for a minimum of $45 per month for a 4GB data plan. The overage charge is $10 per 1GB.

Pantech already makes several mobile phones sold by AT&T. None of them, including the Laser, Ease, Pursuit, Breeze II, Link and Impact, run Android, and some run limited browsers. Primarily, they have been marketed by AT&T as quick messaging phones, with an emphasis on texting.

Pantech already has a reputation as a Windows Mobile device maker and has been a recognized mobile phone brand name in foreign markets for many years, Gold noted.

"They've been making phones a long time, but Pantech is just not a recognized name in the U.S.," Gold said. Often, Pantech has produced devices that carriers then sold without the Pantech brand name on them, he added.

"It's not a surprise to see low-cost smartphones like Crossover coming to market, because you can already buy a BlackBerry smartphone for $69," Gold said. "But what you'll see happening more and more is these companies like Pantech, ZTE and Huawei latching on to Android and coming to market. They can turn the cranks and produce high-volume product cheaply, since they know how to buy chips and screens in bulk."

Various Asian manufacturers will increasingly produce Android devices for sale in the U.S., including up-and-coming manufacturers based in India, Gold noted.


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