Vodafone has joined the Android fray with its first branded handset to feature Google's operating system.
The operator already offers a range of Android-based handsets, and said that the Vodafone 845 combines Android with affordability and an "outstanding experience". The 845 is based on Eclair, the latest version of Google's mobile browser.
The 845 has a 2.8in screen and comes with connectivity options including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and 3g/HSDPA. It also has a 3.2-megapixel camera and 500MB of built-in memory.
"In February we launched the world's cheapest handset. Today we are again breaking new ground. I'm proud to be announcing the 845, Vodafone's first branded Android smartphone," said Patrick Chomet, group director of terminals at Vodafone.
"It runs the very latest Android Eclair software, and shows our commitment and ability to take high-end trends and make them an affordable option for many. "
Vodafone will release seven other handsets in the near future, including three with the Opera Mini brower preinstalled, and an ultra low-cost selection that include Qwerty keyboards and built-in solar chargers.
"Our aim is to offer our customers the best choice of compelling mobiles as well as the best-in-class experience of new services over Vodafone's reliable network," added Chomet.
The upcoming Vodafone 543 and 547 models are so-called "trend influenced" handsets, and bring things like touch screens to a lower price bracket. Vodafone said that this would let a larger customer base enjoy such features.
More serious users may appreciate the 350 and 345 handsets which, though low cost, include a full Qwerty keyboard for messaging. The slightly better specified 350 also has WAP access for email, while both have FM radio, c alculator and currency converter.
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