Although it was launched without any fanfare, the T-Mobile Pulse, otherwise known as the Huawei U8220, could very well be the smartphone that will make the Android platform truly mainstream.
HTC & Samsung, which have produced the first Android phones to be widely available in the UK, have targeted the top-end of the mobile market spectrum but have yet to cater for the price sensitive £15 to £25 market.
Currently, the cheapest way to get an Android phone via a contract is by getting a T-Mobile G1 with Combi 25 + Internet for £27.50 (opens in new tab) from the Deutsch Telekom owned mobile network.
Here are four reasons why we think the Pulse could be the best thing that happened to the Android movement yet.
The Pulse will cost £180 (suggested retail price) which is roughly half the price of the T-Mobile G1 (which is sold at Expansys on T-Mobile PAYG for £335).
HTC has yet to release the G2 on PAYG. It places the phone on par with Nokia's uber popular 5800 Xpressmusic and chances are that it could go even lower...
Because Huawei is an OEM manufacturer (basically making phones for third parties like Vodafone or T-Mobile), it is likely that the Pulse will appear elsewhere just like the the T-Mobile Vairy Touch and the Orange Vegas, both from ZTE.
This means that the Pulse will not only get a bigger number of followers, but also that because it will be more readily available than say the G1, there will be more competition amongst mobile networks to bring prices down.
Despite its lower price, the Pulse has not skimp on the specification list. The 3.5-inch touchscreen, the 3.2-megapixel camera and the Qualcomm MSM7200A Chipset either match or exceed the specifications of the HTC Dream and Magic. Huawei has also promised that the battery life of the Pulse will be much better than on existing Android mobile phones.
T-Mobile has been quiet about whether the Pulse will be sold on monthly contracts anytime soon and with good reason. The Pulse could wipe out any G1 and G2 sales but even on PAYG, the phone will certainly be picked up used only to access internet for as little as £5 per month (through Web 'n Walk) on top of the initial outlay.
For those looking for a more upmarket model, there's also a more upmarket version of the Pulse, the U8230, which will come with more or less the same features. In addition, there will be a Blackberry-like trackball and a posher silvery chrome finish.