China's Huawei is well-known for pumping out tons of low-cost Android smartphones for sales across Asia, contributing to the rich ecosystem that has given the open-source operating system the biggest software footprint in the world.
The Chinese OEM is now taking this approach to the United States, where AT&T plans to begin selling the Impulse 4G Android smartphone Sept. 18 for $29.99 with a two-year contract.
The Impulse 4G is AT&T's first Huawei built smartphone as the carrier seeks to meet its stated goal of producing over 20 Android handsets and tablets in 2011.
Far from a high-end smartphone on the level of the Samsung Galaxy S II that AT&T is offering later this month or the Motorola Droid Bionic Verizon Wireless began selling Sept. 8, the Impulse 4G is loaded with the Android 2.2 "Froyo" build.
At a time when the S II and Bionic include dual-core processors, the latest Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" build, 4.3-inch hig- definition displays and 8-megapixel cameras, the Impulse 4G is powered by an 800MHz chip and has a 3.8-inch WVGA touch screen, a 5-megapixel shutter and HD video recording (in 720p).
See a picture of the Impulse 4G on AT&T's Website here.
AT&T is suggesting Impulse 4G buyers subscribe to a Data Plus plan, which includes 200MB of data for $15 a month. Consumers who want to use AT&T's mobile hotspot, which lets users connect laptops and other devices to the Web, with the Impulse 4G must pay a minimum $45 per month for the DataPro 4GB plan.
This seems like an unlikely choice for prospective buyers of the Impulse 4G, whose one-time hardware purchase and one month of data costs add up to $45 alone.
Current Analysis analyst Avi Greengart said the Impulse 4G is "priced like a budget smartphone but brings a much larger display and higher resolution video recording than other Android phones at this price point."
That could certainly appeal to consumers who just can't afford high-end smartphones that cost $200 to $300 with monthly data plans of $70 and up -- the price ranges of the Droid Bionic and Galaxy S II, among other handsets.