Chinavasion, one of the leading sellers of cheap Chinese electronics, says that they will soon have cheap phones running some of the smartphone OSes. These will include phones running Symbian OS (now open-source), Android, and Windows CE (keep dreaming about Windows Phone 7).
Open source really helps to "open up worlds" for the cheap phone market. "China mobile manufacturers have perfected the cheap cell phone," according to Chinavasion's PR manager, Rose Li. "These new OS developments open up worlds of opportunities."
The operating system that many of these cheap phones had in common was called Nucleus RTOS. Ms. Li states, "The Nucleus RTOS is a very capable OS but it doesn't have the same potential that Windows, or Android or Symbian has. This could potentially be the most exciting development in the cheap mobile phone sector in years."
She continues, "Cheap mobile buyers can now get a mobile offices for the price of a cheap China phone."
It is unclear why this announcement comes now, as Symbian has been open-source and available since April 2009. Android has been around since the release of the G1 in October 2008.
One good thing about this announcement by Chinavasion in particular is that they have a 12 month warranty and strict quality control standards, meaning that cheap does not necessarily mean crap.
Chinavasion currently has four Androids available: Robot (2.8 inch resistive screen, Android 1.5), Excalibur (3G, 3.2 inch screen, Android 2.1), Cyborg (3G, 3.2 inch resistive screen, Android 1.6), and Prodigy (Quadband GSM, 3G, 3.2 capacitive screen, Android 1.6). I think they look pretty good, but their specs are not up to my standards. Check them out here.