One of the reasons Android is on the rise is the accessibility of the platform not only to smartphone and tablet users who have the money to spend on top-of-the-line branded devices, but also lower-cost and lesser-known brands. In the Philippines and other emerging countries in Asia, Cherry Mobile is among these. We last heard of the Philippine brand (which are actually mostly re-badged Karbonn smartphones from India) when they launched a $100 dual-core 4-incher and when they launched their $110 5-inch phablet in January. This time, they have launched a new Android ICS smartphone exclusive to online retailer Lazada.
The Cherry Mobile Thunder is a 4.5-inch smartphone running Android 4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich. The phone takes cues from the recent trend in flagship Android smartphone screens growing to just below 5 inches. But buyers don't have to pay flagship prices for the Thunder, as it costs PhP 4,999, or just about US$125.
Specs are as follows:
FWGA is 480 x 854 pixels, which at 4.5 inches comes to about 218 PPI. It's not as good as the Nexus 4′s 320 PPI, but it's a tad better than the old iPhone 3GS' 163 PPI. Another issue would be the paltry 512MB, which can be a limiting factor when playing games and when running a lot of background apps. Then of course, the screen is not as crisp as your usual Super AMOLED or IPS screen, nor as tough as the scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass. But at $125, I don't think anyone would be complaining.
The Thunder also offers a mainstay feature among smartphones in emerging markets: dual SIM capability. This lets you switch back and forth between two accounts when sending messages and placing calls. The Thunder is “dual standby” so you can receive calls and messages on either SIM (but you cannot have two active calls simultaneously). SIM #1 lets users connect to 3G or HSDPA, but SIM #2 only supports GPRS speeds.
Lazada is actually owned by German startup company Rocket Internet, which runs a host of online businesses around the globe. Its Lazada and Zalora e-commerce sites in the Asia Pacific region give online purchasing access even to folks who don't own credit cards, which is a pressing problem for e-commerce providers in emerging markets. Lazada actually lets buyers get these gadgets at cash-on-delivery. Shipment within metropolitan cities takes 2 to 5 days, while regional shipments are 5 to 10 days.
See also: Best cheap Android smartphones of 2012
Check out the Cherry Mobile Thunder from Lazada through the source link. The smartphone will be selling exclusively from the online store this week, before being made available through other stores.