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Budget and Entry-Level Android Phones: Smart Bet or Poor Start?

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Android handsets from LG and Samsung are great contenders for Android first-timers

By Corey A. Washington –

It’s no secret smartphone adoption is on the rise. Consumers are ditching their dial-or-text-only ways to stay more connected and use more features than ever before.

If you’ve ever taken the leap into the smartphone world before, you know it can be a confusing and off-putting experience. Consumer fear is usually the same: Choosing a poor performing smartphone. Having to make this choice on a budget may seem as though you leapt from a plane without a parachute. But there are some capable, well-performing Android smartphones out there right now that can allay your fears.

The Android market continues to surge, making it now the most used mobile platform with 35 percent market share, according to Canalys. And by next year, at least half of all cell phones in the U.S. will be smartphones, according to In-Stat. If you’re one of the many consumers who are ready to join in the smartphone race and want to join the Android fanboy crowd, here are five things to take into consideration before you make your purchase.

Storage: Regular use of any smartphone can take its toll on available memory. E-mail attachments, photos, videos and apps slowly -- if not quickly -- pile up. Most Android smartphones to date can accommodate at least 16GB of storage. Of course, there are those lesser-known Android handset manufacturers and occasional poor attempts at creating an Android product … they’re out there! Don’t be tempted to go below 16GB.

Multi-tasking: You may not use your phone to capacity, but it’s normal to have your Android phone taking on more than one process at a time. One of Android’s claims-to-fame has been its multi-tasking ability. Test a demonstration model at a retailer as you would if you owned the phone. Watch for sluggish performance and latency to ensure your Android phone can keep up with your lifestyle.

Consumer reviews: Some smartphones pass the initial test. Days or weeks later they slowly but surely fall short of your expectations. When purchasing your first smartphone, avoid buying the newest phone to hit store shelves. Wait at least a month to see how the phone fared with consumers. Bugs can happen and it‘s better someone else discovers it than you.

OS Version: Anything less than Android 2.1, Éclair, is a big fat “no no.” While Google is making attempts to clear up fragmentation of its Android handsets, there are some newer handsets using versions under Android 2.1. It’s important to stay ahead of the curve, especially with new app requirements calling for Android 2.1. Performance enhancements with 2.1 and higher make an even better reason to stay as high up the Android food chain as possible.

User Interface: While Android is Android, different manufacturers have their own versions of a UI on top of their Android 2.1 phones. Test multiple Android smartphones from different manufacturers to find out which UI makes the best Android experience for you.

Top Three Recommendations Under $50 (With Contract):

LG Optimus (Sprint, T-Mobile, Virgin Mobile)

Samsung Captivate (AT&T)

LG Continuum (Verizon Wireless)

Corey Washington is a contributing writer covering technology for Black Voice News. He can be reached at corey@blackvoicenews.com.

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0 # Guest 2011-09-26 14:10
Low-cost andriod

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