Thursday, 20 November 2014 16:35

VIDEO: Boost brings 5-inch pre-paid Android to market for $99 Featured

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Hot on the heels of Vodafone’s 4.5-inch prepaid 4G smartphone for $99, Boost has gone one bigger - a 5-inch prepaid 3G smartphone for $99, too. We spoke to Boost Mobile’s CMO, Ian Blackhall about it on video.

Are you a Boost Mobile customer?

I am, paying my $40 per 30 days for unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles in Australia, unlimited calls to 13 and 18 numbers, unlimited text and picture messages, 2.5GB of data and the three months including November giving a bonus 500MB data until the 26th of January.

It’s a pretty sweet deal that seriously challenges the prepaid offers from all other telcos, including Amaysim who have the same unlimited voice, SMS and MMS plan but offer 5GB of data on Optus 3G for a slightly higher $44.95 price.

The difference is that Boost uses Telstra’s Next G network, capable of ‘up to’ 42.2Mbps connectivity, which makes it the fastest 3G service in Australia.

Of course, if you need more data than the 2.5 or 3GB Boost Mobile offers, and the fastest speed isn’t of paramount importance, Amaysim is a great deal - but for me, the extra coverage and data speeds of Boost Mobile is worth it, even though there’s not as much data, but unless you’re a voracious user, 2.5GB is still a heck of a lot more the everyday smartphone user.

So, with Boost Mobile having amassed hundreds of thousands of customers since it launched on the Telstra network around 15 months ago, the company has done very well in offering a highly competitive service to those who own their phones outright, or who are simply sick of ‘bill shock’, or who want the better service the Telstra network provides - without actually being a direct Telstra customer.

Before we go on with the rest of this article, here’s our chat with Ian Blackhall, Boost Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer in Australia.

Now, Boost Mobile seeks to attract even more customers, coming up with its own $99 Android smartphone offer a week or so after Vodafone announced its 4.5-inch pre-paid Huawei Y550 4G smartphone for $99, which we covered here

Boost Mobile has gone with the Alcatel OneTouch 7040A for $99, which you can see the specs of at GSMArena here, which originally launched in April 2014, and which still sells at The Good Guys for $169, albeit as an unlocked device you can use with any telco, with Boost’s model naturally locked to the Boost network, although why you’d want to be with any other network for pre-paid, I don’t know. 

So, what does Boost’s Alcatel OneTouch offer?

Well, it’s a 5-inch phone that works on 3G with Next G’s fastest speeds, which are 4G-like without being 4G. Yes, that means it’s not actually a 4G phone like Vodafone’s is, but with Boost not yet offering 4G, that’s immaterial - especially as Boost’s 3G is so much faster than 3G on Optus or Vodafone because it is Telstra’s 3G.

In addition, with so many people moving to 4G smartphones, the 3G/Next G network is a lot roomier these days anyway, which makes the 3G network better than ever.

The 5-inch screen has a res of 480x854 at 196 ppi, with an oleophobic coating, a 1.3GHz quad core processor, Android OS 4.3 Jelly Bean (with a free update to Kitkat 4.4 coming early next year), a 5 megapixel camera that can take 720P video, a VGA-class front facing camera, 4GB of internal storage, 512MB RAM and a microSD slot capable of taking cards up to 32GB.

The front of the handset is black, with a white back featuring Boost’s logo, and comes with a Boost icon with quick links to download Boost’s own app, Twitter, SnapChat, SoundCloud, Instagram, Vine, Tumble and MessageMe, all apps aimed at the youth market who love and use these apps to most, although anyone of any adult age could make use of any of them.

When the phone is on the lock screen, you can swipe up to get to your messages, left to go straight to the phone, right to open the camera and down to unlock the phone - presumably unless you put in a pin code to unlock first.

Funkily, the lock symbol sits inside a circle and can be jiggled around by tilting the phone in a sort of pointless but fun little game, which I’m sure kids and teens will amuse themselves with - I certainly had a bit of fun making the lock symbol bounce around the inner circle.

The phone uses a MicroSIM, has up to 8.5 hours of talk time and up to 500 hours of standby time.

As you can expect, Boost is boosting the 5-inch screen size, while noting that 70% of Australians, based on a Sensis 2014 survey, access social media from their smartphones, with a big screen making enjoy all that social media and those images all the nicer.

Ian Blackhall, Boost Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer, said that: “Australians love smartphones, usage figures are amongst the highest in the world per capita and we spend around 2 hours on them each day. However, consumers are fed up of being charged significantly more to purchase them than in other countries. We want to offer people a top spec phone, perfect for social media sharing, at an affordable price.”
 
Blackhall said: “This is arguably the highest spec phone under $100 on offer in Australia. Big screens are key to enjoying visual content and now you can get a 5-inch display with an excellent quality camera on the Boost Mobile network for just $99.”
 
Of course, Vodafone would argue that its 4G smartphone for $99 challenges Boost’s claim, but either way, actually decent Android smartphones are available at sub-$100 price points, as opposed to the crappier and smaller phones that we’ve seen in the past.

I’ve received a review unit to trial, which I’ll be comparing against premium Androids and Vodafone’s Huawei Y550, but on first looks, Boost’s Alcatel OneTouch looks like the perfect phone for those who just don’t want to spend up to $1000 on a premium phone - be it kids, teens or adults.
 
Boost’s Alcatel OneTouch will be live on Boost’s site from tomorrow, 21 November 2014, and will be at retailers where Boost’s existing pre-paid range is sold very, very shortly.

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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