In a sign the smartphone market is definitely no longer the realm of the wealthy, Telecom has released the cheapest ever Android phone in New Zealand, with the launch of the $199 Huawei X1.
Available in retail stores and online, the X1 is powered by the Android 2.2 operating system, and signifies the first step in Huawei’s challenge to the New Zealand consumer market.
Mark Treadwell, head of marketing for Huawei Devices Australia, says the X1 will be exclusive to Telecom’s XT network.
"This affordable smartphone is ideal for those wanting quick and easy access to the apps they love, without the higher price tag," Treadwell says.
20% of Telecom’s mobile phone sales are now smartphones, according to Telecom Retail chief marketing officer, Kieren Cooney.
"As people are doing more with their mobile phones, such as social networking or mobile banking, more and more customers are seeing the benefits of smartphones," Cooney says.
"This makes the X1 an important addition to our mobile portfolio, as it brings the kind of functionality you’d expect from a mid-range smartphone, and a very affordable price."
Update: Vodafone is currently also offering an Android-enabled handset on its website at $199, the Vodafone-branded 858. The device is a limited-edition New Zealand Warriors handset, and features the team's logo printed on the back.