Boost Mobile, one of the many mobile virtual network operators who piggy back on Sprint’s dilapidated 3G network, is going to offer a smartphone dubbed the “Hydro” on August 3rd for $130. Said smartphone is made by Kyocera and it’s called the Hydro because it’s splash proof and water proof up to one meter for 30 minutes. Under the hood there’s a 1 GHz processor, Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, a 3.2 megapixel camera, and a 3.5 inch display that pushes 480 x 320 pixels. For $130, it’s not that bad considering what you’re getting. This thing is clearly targeted at people who’ve never owned a smartphone before. Can you get something better at that price point on another network? Not really. Even if you’re willing to go on the second hand market, there aren’t many devices out there that will run Ice Cream Sandwich. Sure, there’s the whole custom ROM thing, but that’s not very mainstream.
We can’t stress this enough however, Sprint’s 3G network has gone to complete shit after they started selling the iPhone. Everyone bought one, and everyone is using one, so the data speeds are terrible. We’re talking surfing the internet at the equivalent speed that a dial up modem delivered back in 1997. If you go with Straight Talk then you’ll be connected to AT&T’s network, which itself has some problems, but it’s much better than anything Sprint currently has deployed. They’re offering the Huawei Ascend II and the ZTE Merit for $99 and $129 respectively. Both run Android 2.3, both have a 5 megapixel camera, and both have a 600 MHz processor. Despite that, they’ll be connected to a better network, and isn’t that what really counts at the end of the day?
But hey, if you know you have good Sprint coverage in your part of the country, or you know friends who have Sprint and don’t have any issues with their service, then $130 for a device running Android 4.0 is pretty damn cool.
[Additional Reading: MobileBurn's hands-on of the Hydro from May 2012.]