Innocomm Technology, a young smartphone developer, plans to launch its first handset with Google’s Android mobile operating system and an analog TV receiver in the middle of this year, a company representative said Tuesday.
The new device should come as a warning to a number of mobile phone makers. Innocomm is one of a new breed of smartphone design houses aiming to provide high quality, low-cost handsets to mobile phone network operators around the world.
The specifications of the Innocomm Shark, as the handset is called, put it in a category of smartphones that might cost US$500 or $600 retail, but it will actually sell for a lot less than that when it comes out in May or June, according to Chuck Huang, a sales manager at the company.
“What we do is sell a high-end smartphone at a low-end price,” he said, adding that network operators will likely offer it for free with reasonable service contracts.
The Shark has a 3.2-inch touchscreen, 8-megapixel camera with flash, includes GPS, and supports a range of wireless technologies, from 3G mobile telecommunications and HSPA (high speed packet access) data service to 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
The device is 115-millimeters long by 58mm wide and 12.5mm thick. It has connectors for mini-USB cables, a 3.5mm audio jack and a slot for up to a 32GB microSD card.
It also comes with an analog TV receiver and the company is working with chip developers to include a digital TV receiver in a refresh model that will come out later. TV viewing on smartphones has become popular in some places such as China, and Innocomm hopes to tap into that market.
The screen, which Huang said boasts 400 pixel by 800 pixel resolution, showed striking quality with a video of the movie Avatar, in regular 2D, and is made for viewing TV programs on the go. It also has a built in speaker for music and videos.
It’s not the first Android handset Innocomm has worked on. The company showed off a smartphone with a 2.8-inch screen and 3.0-megapixel camera called Skate in 2009 at the Mobile World Congress, but that handset has been delayed due to a change in the chipsets used inside the phone. That phone will be renamed the Raja and launch in the second half of this year, Huang said.
Innocomm has other smartphones on the drawing board, including the Gemini, Shadow, with a 4.3-inch touchscreen, and Scorpion, but Huang said the designs are still concepts and could change dramatically depending on customer requests.
Innocomm is only working with Android and has no plans to use other OSs despite rave reviews for Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 Series at this year’s Mobile World Congress.
“Windows is nice,” said Huang, but it can’t beat the price on Android.
“It’s free and the Google brand is already well known,” he said, “Android is the only OS we’re working on.”