As much as we love to hear and read about Android smartphones sporting the latest and greatest technologies, there are many users who just want a simple phone that works for phone calls, texting, and the occasional web surfing. This is in line with the results of a recent survey by comScore, which tracks the habit of smartphone users in the US. Bottom line: there’s a huge market for simple, affordable smartphones.

If you don’t care about having S2, S3, or X in the name of your phone or if you know someone who’d like a cheap, simple smartphone, you might be interested in what two fine (albeit smaller) carriers in the US have to offer, starting with Virgin Mobile.

Virgin Mobile Venture 3G – $99, no contract

At Virgin Mobile, you can get an unlocked and contract-free Android smartphone that comes with a QWERTY keypad, for a mere $99. Dubbed Virgin Mobile Venture 3G, the phone is powered by a 600Mhz processor and boasts a 2.8-inch capacitive touchscreen with a 320 x 240 resolution, a 2MP front-camera with LED flash, 512MB RAM, Bluetooth 3.0, 3G connectivity, and a microSD card slot. The Venture 3G smartphone ships with Android 2.3 Gingerbread, which is exactly the same flavor of Android you will get if you pay $200 on a contract for a Sony Xperia S. Ironic, huh?

Cricket Muve ZTE Score 3G – $30, no contract

But is 99 bucks the best deal in town for a contract-free Android smartphone? Not according to Cricket Wireless. The carrier is offering the Muve ZTE Score for $30, which will get you a 3G Gingerbread-flavored phone with a 600MHz processor, 3.5-inch capacitive touchscreen with 480 x 320 resolution, 3.2MP rear-camera, Bluetooth, and WiFi. Not bad for the price of two movie tickets.


Both the Venture 3G and the Muve are dirt-cheap phones, but that doesn’t necessarily make them cheap-looking or lacking in essential features. These phones are more than sufficient for entry-level users that want to get acquainted with Android OS. Their importance should not be underestimated — they might the vanguard that takes Android to omnipresence.