November 3, 2012


As part of our review of the Google Nexus 4, one of a game-changers we noted was its seemingly impossible $299 price for the 8GB model ($349 for the 16GB model).  With a beautiful 1280×768 IPS Retina-quality display, insanely fast Qualcomm s4 Krait chipset with 2GB of RAM, 8 megapixel cameras and beautiful design, it is clearly a high end flagship phone.

Phones with those specs typically run in the $500-$700 range unsubsidized and the lack of a LTE chip in the Nexus 4 isn’t likely to drop the price down too terribly much.  Certainly not cut it in half.  Could Google be throwing in a few bucks to make this phone cheaper?  Certainly the Galaxy Nexus before it was a bargain at $349 but it had a significantly cheaper pentile display, less RAM, and an older generation chipset with a midrange 5 megapixel camera.

It isn’t easy to find non-subsidized prices in the US phone market but low-price prepaid carrier Virgin does offer phones at retail prices. Have a look at their higher end Android phones:


The Motorola Triumph is an over a year old 4-inch single core phone that got lackluster reviews. It currently sells for $279.99 unsubsidized. The $299.99 HTC EVO V is a rebrand of the EVO 3D which is almost two years old and was discontinued from Sprint when it moved away from WiMAX almost a year ago. Both of these phones are in a whole other league (Busch) than the Nexus 4.

T-Mobile, which will also sell the Nexus 4 on its website and at its stores, will offer the device in the following configurations:

  • Paired with a qualifying T-Mobile Value voice and data plan and two year service agreement, the Nexus 4 will cost an out-of-pocket down payment of $199.99 with 20 equal monthly payments of $15 per month via T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan (EIP). The Value plan paired with EIP is offered at T-Mobile retail stores.
  • Customers can also purchase the Nexus 4 at T-Mobile retail stores and online for $199.99 (after a $50 Mail in Rebate) qualifying T-Mobile Classic voice and data plan and two year service agreement.

The $199 + $300 in monthly payments comes out to $500 for the same phone Google is offering for $350. The $199 with two year plan is the same price that other high end phones like the Galaxy S3 or even iPhone 5 cost on other carriers. That seems to imply that T-Mobile isn’t getting the Nexus 4 for the same $299 price…or they are adding a serious margin.

What tipped me off to the disparity wasn’t just T-Mobile, however… expand full story

July 30, 2012

Here is a novel idea for upstart Android manufacturers: Take those resources that you could devote to creating your own skins/apps/experience on top of Android, and then use those same resources to get the latest stock version of Android to devices instead.

Virgin Mobile is pretty good at this (even taking the Motorola Triumph without MotoBlur on it ) and only adding apps. However, as manufacturers go, ZTE has something promising in its Grand X device: Pure Android.

While it does not have Jelly Bean on it (no guarantees either), The Gran X has pure Ice Cream Sandwich on it from shipping and no wasted time and energy on bloatware. Good for them.

As The Verge reviewed, it is mediocre otherwise with mostly cheap components and, to be frank, some software adjustments needed.

However, without bloatware, it is also quicker/easier to update the device…should they decide to do so in a swift fashion. How about some Jelly Bean?

The Grand X is available in the United Kingdom now and will be stateside by the end of next month.

June 9, 2011

At a Sprint press conference which took place half an hour ago, Motorola pledged to launch more than ten new wireless gizmos this year, including the flagship Motorola Photon 3G and Motorola Triumph smartphones. The Photon 4G files as Motorola’s first 4G device and the Triumph is their first Virgin Mobile USA device.

The Photon 4G, pictured above and available this summer, sports a dual-core 1GHz Tegra 2 chip from Nvidia, a 4.3-inch qHD display, dual cameras and a kickstand. The device runs Android 2.3 Gingerbread, features international GSM capabilities and has the Motorola webtop application that lets you access desktop-class applications while hooked up with a Motorola accessory dock. Go past the break for the Triumph info and official specs.

expand full story

December 11, 2011


Best Buy today has the lowest price we’ve seen on the Virgin LG Optimus V since Black Friday$65 with free shipping.  That’s half price for this pre-paid Android 2.2 device.

I am a big fan of this phone because of the low, no contract pricing starting at $35/month for unlimited text/data and the relatively untouched Android 2.2 experience.  There are Android 2.3 ROMs floating around for the somewhat adventurous, though frankly Virgin should get their act together and update this phone themselves.  Even with 2.2, you get voice actions, a very capable GPS and free unlimited 3G tethering if you know what you are doing.

This is also one of the smallest Android devices you can find with a 3.2-inch 320×480 screen and nice physical buttons. expand full story

November 28, 2011

Virgin Mobile has a few of their Android Prepaid Phones marked down 50% below retail price today. Save an additional 20% with code save20.

The following prices are after code save20

via Slickdeals expand full story

September 27, 2011

Wondering why that Virgin Optimus V is being marked down to $99 at Best Buy? Having a little look at their inventory system shows the answer. The 4 oz. Virgin Optimus Slider, a physical keyboard-enabled version of the Optimus V phone is coming soon to Virgin Mobile.  The Slider is the roughly same phone as the Verizon LG Enlighten which went on sale for $79 with a two year plan.


The specs (below fold) look largely the same as the Optimus V with the edition of Android 2.3 and obviously a physical Keyboard (shown above).

We’ve separately heard that Virgin has a Gingerbread update for the Optimus V in the works and at half the price, we could so without the sliding keyboard –but to each, their own.  Expect this to be formally announced in the coming weeks and in stores shortly (before or ) after. expand full story

Powered by VIP