Smartphone on a budget: Samsung Exhibit II 4G set for sale

T-Mobile prices device at under $30 after rebate with two-year plan

The budget-friendly Samsung Exhibit II 4G smartphone is slated to go on sale Thursday for $29.99 after rebate and a two-year agreement with T-Mobile USA.

The new phone will also be sold without an annual contract for $199.99, T-Mobile announced, putting its price tag in line with what many carriers charge for high-end smartphones subject to two-year contracts.

T-Mobile's low prices for the Exhibit II, which come in the midst of its purchase by AT&T , show the effect of mounting price competition among carriers, analysts said.

The Exhibit II is the first 4G smartphone sold without an annual contract at Walmart stores, which will be the first retailer to put it on sale Thursday. It will be available at T-Mobile stores on Nov. 2.

T-Mobile noted that the low-cost device runs on its fast 4G network, which is based on HSPA+21 and HSPA+42 technology that theoretically offer downloads of 10 Mbps or higher.

The Exhibit II has a3.7-in. WVGA touchscreen and a 1 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor. That processor was at the high end of smartphones a year ago, but many of the latest smartphones have dual-coreprocessors, some clocked at 1.2 GHz or higher.

The smartphone runs Android 2.3, also known as Gingerbread, as carriers are expected to soon launch Android 4.0 ( Ice Cream Sandwich )-based devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

Exhibit II has a 3-megapixel rear-facing camera and front-facing camera that allows video chat via Wi-Fi. High end smartphones, including the iPhone 4S, are now offering 8 megapixel rear-facing cameras.

T-Mobile Vice President of product management Andrew Morrison said pricing on the Exhibit II gives buyer a "compelling reason ... to step up to the benefits of 4G smartphones."

Calling the device "budget-friendly," T-Mobile also said it is "feature-rich," with access to TV and movies through the Samsung Media Hub and T-Mobile TV. Access to Gmail and sync with Exchange email is possible.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen , send e-mail to or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

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