Cricket it set to launch the Kyocera ZIO as the pre-paid carrier’s (and manufacturer’s) first Android handset. While it’s no powerhouse, it still a great option for Cricket customers looking for a cheaper Android phone without a contract.
If you don’t remember the Kyocera ZIO, we don’t blame you. Not only is it on the lower-end side of the Android smartphone spectrum, it’s also just not very memorable. The call and end buttons alone make the thing look cheap(er), and it’s running Android 1.6, with no definite answer on whether or not the handset will be upgradable to anything other than the current OS version it ships with.
Worse yet, the price isn’t that attractive, coming in around $250+. That’s the way it goes with carriers like Cricket that offer very cheap calling and data plans, they gotta get money out of you somehow. Likely, if you’re on Cricket, you’re probably not looking to spend a lot on your mobile phone service, so we have to wonder how many Cricket customers will be picking up a $250 Android smartphone that turns out to be barely better then low-end.
The ZIO isn’t all bad though. I was pleasantly surprised to feel how light the device is in your hand, and you can thank this to the extensive use of plastic through the entire handset. The ZIO is impressively thin, allowing you to get a good grip on it. The specs are acceptable for a mid-range smartphone, but we wouldn’t expect anyone dropping their current phone for this particular Android phone anytime soon. The ZIO will hit market with a 3.5 inch display, 3.2 megapixel camera with video capture up to 30 fps, Bluetooth, WiFi, 512 MB of on-board memory for applications, and a 600 MHz Qualcomm MSM7227 CPU. The specifications on the ZIO don’t necessarily read like a dream, but they aren’t terrible, either.
We can expect the ZIO to hit Cricket as soon as August 15th, making it the second ‘budget’ carrier in joining the Android army, right after Boost with the Motorola I1.