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Virgin Mobile Enters Android Smartphone Market

Samsung Intercept has a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and social networking and Google apps.

Samsung Intercept
(click image for larger view)
Samsung Intercept
Virgin Mobile is entering the smartphone market frenzy in the United States with the Android-based Samsung Intercept.

The device is now available at Target stores nationwide and will be made available to other major retailers throughout October for $249.99. The carrier is offering the device in its no-contract phone and services lineup.

"As smartphone users come up for contract renewal and examine their monthly costs, they will start to wonder why they are paying more each month when they can get similar services from Virgin Mobile at a fraction of the price," said Bob Stohrer, VP of marketing at Virgin Mobile USA, in a statement.

The Samsung Intercept has a 3.2-inch touchscreen display, a full slide-out QWERTY keyboard, and a 3.2-megapixel camera and video. The device has six hours of talk time and features several social networking apps such as YouTube, Facebook, and Google Talk, and users can also access Virgin Mobile's branded music stream with its integrated Live app.

It also includes Microsoft Outlook Exchange email and messaging capabilities. It runs on Android 2.1, has 3G speed and an 800-MHz processor. It is 4.6 inches x 2.2 x 0.06 and weighs 4.6 ounces.

Other features of the handset include contact and calendar sync via ActiveSync; access to the Amazon MP3 store and Android Market; other Google apps such as Maps, Email, and Navigation; a document file viewer; quick access to social networking with dedicated keys; and a built-in music player.

The Samsung Intercept will compete with the recently launched Sanyo Zio, the first Android phone available from Cricket in the United States on a low-cost, prepaid unlimited plan model. However, Cricket does not offer nationwide coverage, and the Zio has a slower, 600-MHz processor.

Virgin Mobile's rate plans start at $25 per month for 300 minutes of talk time and unlimited text, email, data, and voice. The Samsung Intercept will also be available on mid month.

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