Orange and Intel this morning revealed the fruits of their ‘Santa Clara’ project, announced earlier in the year at Mobile World Congress 2012. Now called the Orange San Diego, this exclusive Intel-made handset aims to bring Android smartphone technology to an budget friendly price point of £199 on Pay As You Go, and free from £15.50 per month on contract.
For your money you will be able to take home an Intel Atom based dual-camera Android handset with 16GB of onboard memory and 1GB RAM, perfectly happy at taking snaps at 8MP with LED flash, full 1080p video, and video calling.
The camera can also operate in burst-mode, firing of 10 snaps per second, handy for capturing hyperactive children or over-caffienated work colleagues in action.
NFC will give you access to electronic wallet functions should you wish, whilst HDMI output is provided for HD video playback on your big screen.
HD Voice is a happy addition, providing a sheen of enhanced calling quality for its primary function as a phone. Battery life, another keen concern for handsets, is claimed at around 8 hours of talk time and 14 days standby.
Concessions have understandably been made to bring these features to this price level however.
The Atom chipset is roughly 4 years old now, although this is its first incarnation in a mobile handset, and whilst high end smartphones are starting to pack quad-core power, the San Diego totes a modest 1.6gHz single core processor.
Onboard memory doesn’t appear to be expandable either, meaning that you’ll be stuck with 16GB of storage.
The San Diego also runs an Orange branded version of the more… mature shall we say…2.3 version of Android (Gingerbread). We pushed one of the brains from Intel for info about future software updates, and whilst they could reveal that 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) would be made available as an over the air update ‘soon’, they couldn’t be pushed for a firm date.
Up close, the San Diego did appear to be a competent handset, In your hand it does feel like a slightly chunkier version of Samsung’s Galaxy S2, with a similar plastic approach and nice and light in your hand. There was no noticeable lag in basic operation with this current software revision, although how the Ice Cream Sandwich update will perform with its single core processor is yet to be seen.
Orange are confident however that the payoff between available features and price point should make it an attractive wallet friendly option via their retail stores, online and over the phone.
Orange will be promoting the San Diego with the biggest marketing push for an own-brand handset yet. Expect a creative campaign featuring ninjas and jet powered cars to hit your screens very soon, and just in time for the June 6th release.
It’s a competitive market though, and if you look around you may be able to pick up a last model branded handset, with a slightly higher spec as well as more minutes and texts for the same price.
For example Phones4U are currently offering £15.50p/m contracts on the HTC One S, and the Samsung Galaxy S2.
As always, feel free to explore more options via Omio’s deals page.