As noted on 9to5toys.com, Best Buy is selling the Virgin/Sprint LG Optimus V Android Smartphone for $100 without a plan. (Why?) Yes, that means you can buy the Android 2.2 phone with 2GB of memory, GPS, Bluetooth and forgo the plan altogether. Think of it as a cheap Galaxy Player for the kids. But it is even better with Virgins simple, cheap all you can eat data plans.
I’ve used this phone and I like it a lot. It doesn’t play Flash video, has a small 320×480 screen (Think iPhone 3GS), and doesn’t have a front side camera for video chatting, but it is very solid. It has a great GPS, makes calls well and Apps switch and open fast, in part because Virgin doesn’t do overlays. I’ve recommended it to friends and family who have feature phones and want to step up to Smartphones without increasing their monthly costs. In fact, many actually lower their costs by going on Virgin Mobile’s $25-$35/month all you can eat data/text and 300 minute plans.
But, at $99 without a plan, it is the first solid Android device in the US to break the $99 price point. This trend may be more important than the next Galaxy or HTC 720P Androids or iPhones because it will get many more people on the mobile Internet.
Think about it. Where is the growth in the market? The latest Nielsen Data says that only 50-60% of Americans have Smartphones. The other 40% could probably afford to get this device instead of their current feature phone without taking much of a hit on their monthly costs. In fact, with the economy uncertain, a lot of post paid customers might want to chop their monthly bill in half with this little guy.