Sep. 19, 2011 at 3:33 PM ET
For Android users and those who are ready to jump ship (or jump into) the Google mobile operating system at 4G speeds, there's a relatively low-cost smartphone coming your way: the under-$100 Pantech Breakout.
Coming out Thursday (Sept.22), it'll be available through Verizon Wireless for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. As is common practice with so many companies now, the rebate will come in the form of a debit card to be used anywhere you'd normally use one.
In contrast, the recently released dual-core Motorola Droid Bionic retails for $299.99.
The phone is being promoted as a 4G/Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)/one gigahertz processor-powered (non-Droid) device with download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G mobile broadband coverage areas. If you have one of these, you may very well be the life of the online party when others can't get a fix on the free Wi-Fi: the Breakout can also serve as a 4G LTE mobile hotspot that can support up to 10 Wi-Fi devices.
It also comes with a sizable, 4-inch touchscreen and pre-loaded with YouTube, Google Maps and a host of other Google products. Apps and other downloads should be able to fit on its 8 GB pre-installed microSD card. Its on-screen QWERTY keyboard also incorporate Swype, so you can write your texts in fluid lines vs. tapping. It may not be for everyone, but if you get the hang of it, it can prove addictive.
Like any good smartphone, the Breakout comes with a camera — two, in fact. The rear-facing 5-megapixel one can capture HD video (up to 720p), while the front-facing camera can do still shots and be used for on-the-go video chats.
Safer, hands-free talking will also be easy with Bluetooth 3.0.
Customers who buy a Pantech Breakout smartphone will need to subscribe to a Verizon Wireless Nationwide Talk plan beginning at $39.99 for monthly access and a smartphone data package starting at $30 monthly access for 2 GB of data.