Vodafone has announced today the launch of a smartphone called the 555 Blue, which looks a lot like the HTC ChaCha since both of them share the same form factor, colour scheme and a dedicated Facebook button.
We're told that it's an Alcatel-built handset which is presented as a bridging device between ultra cheap feature phones and more expensive branded smartphones. The Vodafone 555 Blue is actually a joint venture between Alcatel-Lucent and TCL Communication of China, which means that in reality, it is not that different from ZTE or Huawei and therefore should be priced very competitively.
The Vodafone-branded smartphone will be sold in most Vodafone territories, including India where it is expected to do very well. Hardware wise, it comes with a 2.4-inch screen (no touchscreen unlike the ChaCha), a two-megapixel camera but no 3G or Wi-Fi; no surprise there.
However, we're pleased to see that it is bundled with an Opera Mini web browser, which happens to have a nifty compression feature that should not only save bandwidth but also load web pages faster.
Expect the Vodafone 555 Blue to launch in the UK next month for £60 where it will go up against the likes of the Orange Barcelona and cheap handsets like the Sony Ericsson Xperia X8, the LG Viewty Snap and LG Cookie Fresh.