We gotta say -- we dig where this is headed. Between Virgin Mobile's Intercept, Boost Mobile's Prevail and Cricket's Ascend II, it's getting harder and harder to justify a mid-range smartphone on a post-paid carrier. Huawei's latest prepaid smartphone has just landed on Cricket, quite a few months after we first touched it at CTIA. What's wild isn't the predictable design or middle-of-the-road 5 megapixel camera -- it's that $179.99 off-contract price tag coupled with a copy of Android 2.3. Gingerbread is proving tough to find even on the big boys, so having a prepaid option is all the more surprising. You'll also get a 3.5-inch HVGA touchpanel, WiFi, a microSD slot and a 600MHz processor. Granted, you'll likely experience plenty of lag when trying to multitask, but with an all-inclusive $55 / month plan (which includes unlimited talk, text, 411 information, international text, data and video picture messages), what's to kvetch about?
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Cricket Launches the Huawei Ascend II

~ Wireless Innovator Brings Exciting New Android® Smartphone to Customers at Smart Value Pricing ~

SAN DIEGO, July 12, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --


Cricket Communications Inc.,a leading provider of innovative and value-driven wireless services and a wholly-owned subsidiary of Leap Wireless International, Inc. (NASDAQ:LEAP), today announced the launch of the Huawei Ascend II, the successor to Cricket's highly-successful deployment of its first low-cost Android device, the Ascend, that was launched in October last year.

"We are excited about the sleek, new Huawei Ascend II," said Matt Stoiber, vice president and general manager of devices for Cricket Communications. "The original Ascend has been our best-selling smartphone and the Ascend II is sure to impress our customers with its faster processor, 5 megapixel camera and the Android 2.3 Gingerbread operating system."

This value-priced Android comes with a 3.5" HVGA touch-screen with virtual keyboard, Wi-Fi capability and 3G Real Web Browsing. The Ascend II has lots of great smartphone features packed into an affordable package. Cricket's fifth Android smartphone also includes great features like a 5 MP camera/camcorder and a MP3 player/microSD slot. The Ascend II features the Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and a 600 MHz processor. This smartphone also gives customers access to more than 200,000 cool apps on the Android Market(TM) as well as great Google applications such as YouTube, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Search and more.

Reinforcing Cricket's innovation value proposition and dedication to respecting value-seeking customers, the Huawei Ascend II is offered for a suggested MSRP of $179.99 in Cricket branded retail stores, select dealers and on www.mycricket.com. Prices may vary by market and by promotional programs.

The feature-packed Ascend II will be offered on Cricket's all-inclusive $55 Android plan, which provides users with unlimited talk, text, 411 information, international text, unlimited and video picture messages, unlimited data services on the company's reliable all 3G network, and more. Additionally, customers utilizing the $55 rate plan have free access to MyBackup, a system that enables subscribers to automatically protect, store and edit their mobile contacts online and without the need for data cables.

For more information about Cricket's dynamic device lineup, please visit www.mycricket.com.

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Huawei Ascend II on sale now, brings off-contract Gingerbread to Cricket for $180