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Android-based ZTE Racer Appears On 3 UK

UK's smallest independent mobile phone network 3 UK has launched the cheapest Android touchscreen mobile phone on the market, the Racer, a handset that comes courtesy of Chinese manufacturer ZTE.

The phone, which is available on £13 per month contracts, is the first Android handset that will be available for less than £100 on PAYG.

Cheaper touchscreen handsets are already on sale from Orange (opens in new tab) and T-Mobile but they all feature entry level operating systems like the Qualcomm Brew.

ZTE, which already provides 3 UK with the F102 handset, hasn't cut many corners with the Racer. There's a 2.8-inch touchscreen display (albeit a resistive one) that can display 320x240 pixels, HSDPA connectivity and a 3.2-megapixel camera without flash.

The Chinese manufacturer has also judiciously thrown in Android OS 2.1 OS without any customised user interface (unlike Sony Ericsson or HTC) and there's even a 2GB microSD card. This means that users will not have to depend on the manufacturer before upgrading their handsets, indeed, they will be able to install nightly builds if desired.

The cheapest contract comes with 300 anytime, any network minutes or texts with 500MB on a two year contract. Internet Talker 900 offers 900 minutes or text with 1GB worth of data for £18 per month while the One Plan contract (opens in new tab) increases the allocation to 2000 minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3-to-3 minutes and 1GB internet.

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.