Sprint and ZTE have teamed up to offer a 7-inch Android-running 3G tablet for $100 with a two-year contract. Will it distract consumer attention from the $200 Kindle Fire?
begin selling ZTE's first tablet for North America Feb. 5. In a world of
fast-selling Apple iPads and Samsung Galaxy Tabs, the ZTE Optik is likely to
attract attention for its selling price: $100 with a two-year service
The Optik runs
Android 3.2, known as Honeycomb, and features a 7-inch touch-screen with a WXGA
1,280 x 800 resolution, dual cameras-5 megapixels on the back and 2 megapixels
up front-a 1.2GHz Snapdragon processor, 1GB of RAM, and 3G and WiFi
technology is also included, as are GPS, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, a 3.5mm
headset, support for a 32GB microSD card-which is not included-and access to
Sprint Zone, Sprint TV and Sprint Navigation, among other services. Google's
full line of services, such as Gmail, YouTube and Google Maps, will all be
accessible, as will its Android Market.
service agreement, Sprint will sell the Optik for $350, though special pricing
is available for business customers who qualify.
China-based ZTE is branching out beyond key markets in the Asia-Pacific region,
and during the fourth quarter of 2011 held the No. 5 spot in the
global mobile phone market
, shipping 17.1 million units and nearly tying LG
Electronics, with its 17.7 million units, for the No. 4 spot.
known as a purveyor of entry-level devices, ZTE's smartphones increasingly
moved into the spotlight [during the quarter]," research firm IDC
analysts said in a statement Feb. 1, adding that ZTE has also "gained
presence in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) and Latin America, and
branched out into North America."
Key to its
success were its midmarket Blade and Skate Android phones, as well the Tania,
its first Windows Phone smartphone.
Optik's price point-which, remember, comes combined with a monthly plan of $20
to $80 a month, depending on how much data one plans to use-it will be
interesting to see how the device fares. Amazon has upended the tablet market
with its $200 Kindle Fire, a device it's in the unusual position of being able
to offer at a hardware loss, so lucrative are things for Amazon on the software
side of the things.
excellent luck with its Galaxy Tab. But the Kindle Fire was introduced in
November, and by January had gobbled
away at Samsung's slice of the Android tablet market share pie
two were even at 36 percent. In November, Samsung held 63 percent portion to
Amazon's 3 percent.
accomplished such a feat, according to analytics firm Flurry in a Jan. 27 blog
, comes as bad news to manufacturers. Like Apple, Amazon shifted the
focus from hardware to the ecosystem.
takes the focus away from the device and operating system, emphasizing content,
a differentiated consumer experience and commerce," wrote Flurry's Peter
Farago. "For its launch, it lined up key content such as Facebook and
Angry Birds, as well as offering Amazon Prime, its own streaming TV and movie
Fire, however, is WiFi-only. For 3G, and the upfront savings, will consumers
turn to the Optik? HP, with its TouchPad
, proved consumers have an appetite for a $100 tablet. Or maybe it
proved they have an appetite for a $500 tablet wearing a $100 price tag.