While the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and Motorola Droid Razr high-end smartphones captured the most headlines this week in the mobile market, Sprint (NYSE:S) unveiled two new Android 2.3 "Gingerbread" smartphones: The Motorola Admiral and HTC Evo Design 4G.
The Admiral and Evo Design 4G have two things in common. Both run Android 2.3 "Gingerbread," which is no longer the freshest Android flavor now that Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" has been revealed, and both cost $99 on contract after $50 mail-in rebates.
That price tag should appeal to the echelon of consumers wary of paying $200 to $300 for the high-end smartphones, such as the Razr and Galaxy Nexus (has not been formally priced).
The Admiral, which will go on sale Nov. 13 in all Sprint stores and retail sales channels, sports a speedy 1.2 GHz processor, 3.1-inch VGA touchscreen display and QWERTY keyboard. The handset will leverage the Sprint 3G network for push-to-talk capabilities the company is famous for with Direct Connect.
If the Admiral's title seems more like a rank, it's with good reason. The smartphone has a Corning Gorilla Glass touchscreen to fend off scratches and meets the 810G military standard for dust, shock, vibration, solar radiation, low pressure and high and low temperatures.
The device also supports push delivery of Microsoft Exchange e-mail and manageability via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync Server. That includes password support, remote wipe and data encryption, PIN and password lock support, and data encryption for the device and microSDcard.
The Admiral also has a 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video capture, 3G Mobile Hotspot capability for up to five WiFi devices and 4GB of internal memory, expandable to 32GB micro SD card.
The phone requires activation on one of Sprint's unlimited data, starting at just $59.99 per month with the necessary $10 per month premium smartphone surcharge. The mobile hotspot is available for an additional $29.99 per month with up to 5GB of data.
Available Oct. 23, the HTC EVO Design 4G also has a 1.2GHZ processor, but it obviously is designed to run on Sprint's faster, 4G WiMAX network. It's also a world phone, which means users may make and receive calls and texts and check and send e-mail from anywhere.
Like its Evo predecessors, the Evo Design has a large touchscreen display, encased in an aluminum unibody design. The Design's display is a 4-inch qHD (Quarter High Definition), and it facilitates social sharing and other perks through the HTC Sense user interface.
The Design also has a 5MP rear-facing camera with HD Video recording and a 1.3MP front shutter for video chats. The phone will also work with the $30 a month 3g.4G mobile hotspot, but for up to 8 devices instead of just 5 gadgets.
The Evo Design 4G requires subscription to the Sprint Everything Data plan, which statys at $69.99 a month, plus the $10 smartphone data charge.