Cricket Communications announced its most powerful Android smartphone, a four-inch Android 2.3 handset with a 1.4GHz processor and an eight-megapixel camera. Priced at $250 without contract and $55 per month in fees, the Huawei Mercury is the first U.S.-destined variant of the Huawei Honor, being released this month in a variety of global markets.
The Huawei Mercury, which had been previously tipped as the Huawei Glory, was released Dec. 19 by prepaid wireless carrier Cricket as the Huawei Mercury (pictured). Said to be a close cousin of the Huawei Honor smartphone, which is shipping this month internationally, the Mercury is promoted as being the carrier's most powerful Android smartphone yet.
The Mercury sells for $250 without contract, plus $55 per month in fees. No-contract mobile provider Cricket Communications says it will have a U.S. exclusive on the device.
Like the very similar Huawei Honor, the Mercury is equipped with an unnamed 1.4GHz processor. It features a four-inch touchscreen with fairly pedestrian 854 x 480 pixel resolution. The eight-megapixel rear-facing camera is a standout however, and a front-facing VGA cam is also said to be available.
The Mercury ships with 2GB of internal storage, and offers 3G, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth, says Cricket. It also offers a Mobile Hotspot service for up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, says the mobile provider.
The device is said to offer Google Mobile Services including Android Market, Gmail, Movie Studio, YouTube, Google Earth, and Google Maps with 3D and turn-by-turn navigation. Cricket apps are said to include My Backup, My Account, Cricket Mobile Web, and Cricket Storefront Client. The latter provides access to an application storefront where users can purchase ringtones, graphics, ringback tones, games, and apps.
Neither Cricket or Huawei offered further details, but PhoneArena, which confirms the Honor/Glory connection, says the phone runs Android 2.3.3 on a single-core Qualcomm MSM8655T Snapdragon processor. Other features are said to include a microSD slot, micro-USB port, a 3.5mm headset jack, aGPS, and CDMA 3G service. There's also an accelerometer, as well as light and proximity sensors, says the story.
Huawei Honor in its various colors
(Click to enlarge)
Huawei unveiled the Honor in September, and last month announced that the Android 2.3.5 smartphone would ship in December in Russia, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, and China, with additional markets to follow. According to one recent report, the phone is already shipping in China where the company has posted a downloadable Android 4.0 update, making it the first phone in the world to receive the upgrade.
Huawei now lists a whopping 15 Android phones in circulation, although most of these do not appear to be available in the U.S. Huawei has released a number of Android phones stateside, however, including the 2.8-inch T-Mobile Comet, a version of the low-end Huawei Ideos U8110.
This July, Huawei announced the 4.2-inch, 1GHz Huawei Ascend X 4G (Ideos X6 or U9000) on Cincinnati Bell, and in August it announced the Huawei Vision, a curvy 3.7-inch phone that runs Android 2.3 on a 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon. In September, AT&T launched Huawei's 3.8-inch Impulse 4G for a record-breaking $30 plus contract.
The Huawei Mercury follows earlier Cricket Android phones including Kyocera's low-end, 3.5-inch Sanyo Zio Android phone. The Huawei Mercury bests Cricket's existing Android smartphones, including the 3.5-inch, 800MHz Samsung Vitality and 3.5-inch, 600MHz ZTE Score, not to mention its Huawei Pillar feature phone.
The Huawei Mercury will be available for $250 without contract, plus $55 per month in service fees, before the holidays, says Cricket. However, the Cricket site had yet to post any information on the phone by publication time. The service plan is said to include unlimited talk and long distance, 3G mobile data and email, and unlimited text, picture and video messaging, among other features.
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