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New Android Phones and Affordable PAYGO Data Come to TracFone



Details are starting to come out about the TracFone's first Android phones and the new rate plans that go with them. The plan pricing for the new Android TracFones is really good, so good that I doubted it was true when I first heard about it.

Like most recent TracFones, the Android phones are Triple Minutes For Life (TMFL) phones. But there's a new twist that makes then surprisingly affordable for light to moderate data use, something that never used to be true with TracFones.

Like other triple minute TracFones, when you add a refill card to one of the Android phones you get triple the card's face value in minutes. So a $19.99 60 minute card is good for 180 minutes. With previous TracFones sending texts and using data used some of your minutes. A text cost a third of a minute and data was 1.5 minutes per KB, equivalent to an insane 1535 minutes per MB.

The Android phones use what's being called the "triple-triple" system with separate buckets for minutes, texts and data. On the Android phones, a 60 minute card gives you 180 minutes, plus 180 texts plus 180 MB of data. That's quite a deal, especially for data. Assuming you could use all three buckets at an equal rate, the per unit price of a minute, text or MB of data ranges from 3.7ċ with the $19.99 60 minute card to 2¢ with the $79.99 450 minute card.

Of course no one will use exactly equal amounts of minutes, texts and data. One of the three buckets is going to run out first. When you ran out of minutes, texts or data you add a regular TracFone refill to get more. Any remaining minutes, texts or data rolls over when you refill. There are also special data only cards that add 300 MB for $10, 750 MB for $20 and 2 GB for $50.

The losers with triple-triple are people who mainly text. With Tracfone's legacy TMFL feature phones, a $19.99, 60 minute card is good for 540 texts, assuming you don't use any voice minutes or data. With the triple-triple Android phones, the same 60 minute card only provides 180 texts, although it does also includes180 minutes and 180 MBs of data. One way for heavy text users to get more texts would be to could use an app like Google Voice that can send and receive texts using data.

The four new TracFone Android phones (pictured, left to right above) are the:

LG Optimus Dynamic L38C $99.99 (tutorial and manual), which has been available from Straight Talk and NET10 for several months, has a 3.2 inch 320 x240 px screen, 800 Mhz processor, 512 MB RAM, 3 MB total internal memory and a 3 MP  fixed focus camera without flash  It runs the old Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS. The LG Optimus Dynamic is listed on Target.com as being available in some stores. 

Huawei Glory 868C $99.99 (tutorial and manual) was released recently on Straight Talk and NET10. It has a 3.5 inch 320x 480 px screen, 800 Mhz single core processor, 512 MB of RAM, an unspecified amount of internal memory and a 3.2 MP  fixed focus camera without flash. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. According to Target.com it's available in stores but not online .

ZTE Valet Z665C $99.99 (tutorial and manual) is new to the Tracfone family. It appears to be identical to US Cellular's ZTE Director M850L except that the Valet has been upgraded from the Director's Android 4.0  to 4.1 Jelly Bean. It has a 3.5 inch 320x 480 px screen, 1 Ghz single core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of total internal memory and a 3 MP fixed focus camera with flash. It runs Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The ZTE Valet is available from Ebay store front ShopCellDeals for $89.99 without airtime or $119.99 with 600 minutes, 600 texts and 600 MB included. It's  also has been spotted in a BestBuy store.

Samsung Galaxy Centura S738C, $119.99 (tutorial and manual) has been offered on Straight Talk and NET10 for several months. It has a 3.5 inch 320x 480 px screen, 800 Mhz single core processor, 512 MB of RAM, 4 GB of total internal memory (2.8 GB available to user) and a 3 MP fixed focus camera without flash. It runs Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.  The Galaxy Centura is available from HSN for $149.99 bundled with a 200 minute airtime card (good for 600 minutes, texts and MBs when tripled), $25 Google Play gift card, gel skin and a car charger for $149.99. ShopCellDeals still has the Centura for $109.99 without airtime or accessories or for $129.99 with 600 minutes, 600 texts and 600 MB included.

Of the four phones the Samsung and the ZTE look like the best choices. The ZTE has the best specs, including the fastest processor and an LED flash for the camera, which the others lack. It also the only one running Android JellyBean.

The Samsung has a slower processor and runs Ice Cream Sandwich. But, the Samsung brand has a better reputation for hardwre quality and software stability than either ZTE or Huawei. The LG is saddled with a tiny low res screen screen and Gingerbread. It's not a terrible phone but the others are better choices.

Related:
TracFone's First Android Phone, the Samsung Galaxy Centura is Now Available at HSN
Android Phones and Affordable Data May Be Coming to TracFone Pay as You Go
Prepaid Operator Profile: TracFone

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20 comments:

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  1. Not a good selection: looks like none has a keyboard

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    1. "Keyboard" is virtual QWERTY and appears when needed. Telephone dial pad also appears on screen to make a call. Very good selection! Works well.

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  2. Swype is pretty usable on a3.2 inch display. it's really disappointing they aren't offering any handset with a wvga 4"display which Nokia has proven can be brought to market under 100$ with the lumia 520/521. with only 512mb ram and sub 1ghz single core you may be better off with ginger bread os anyway...

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  3. You forgot something Dennis. You can stream on 3G. I read the T.O.S. For me, I love the plan. You can buy a one year service card that would give you 1200 minutes, 1200 texts, and 1.2GB of data for $100. I could add a $50 data card when needed. That's $150 for the year. I use my phone as a phone. So this is perfect except for the phones.

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  4. freedom pop phone service opened with HTC EVO 99 DOLLARS 200 MIN -FREE, 500 MIN - 8DOLLARS - UNLIMITED - 10 DOLLARS

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    1. They won't let me sign up - they say I have to wait until they notify me. I have the hotspot, so coverage is not the issue.

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    2. Wait for their BYOP or LTE phone. WiMax is going away after next year.

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    3. They are selling the EVO Design - much nicer than the EVO. Good deal.

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    4. Freedom Pop, at least initially, is only available in one state... that's about 5% of the US land mass. Makes it at this time just a small regional player.

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    5. One state? What state and where did you hear that? As fa as I knoe the FreedomPhone is available in all WiMAX coverage areas.

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    6. "WiMax is going away after next year." The year after next, actually. WiMAX is scheduled to be shut down at the end of 2015.

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  5. Freedom runs on Sprint. These tracfones run on Verizon. Not even a contest.

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    Replies
    1. Sprint? One of the would-be networks? Yeah. no contest at all.

      Delete
  6. The Freedompop phone announcement clearly states California only.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't seen that announcement. Do you have a link?

      I just entered a Chicago IL address and the FreedomPhone was available.

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    2. Freepop will sell a phone in VA also. Try zip 22202, a good WiMax area.

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  7. I wonder if better Android phones will come out in the near future. While it's nice that TracFone has finally come out with Android phones, I would like a phone with at least a 4-inch screen and more internal memory. I'm also curious what the network coverage will be like with the Android phones.

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  8. Okay, I couldn't wait any longer and went ahead and purchased the Samsung Galaxy Century. I received it yesterday and have transferred my number and minutes from my old phone. I am very, very happy with the phone. The only downside so far that I've discovered is there doesn't seem to be a setting that turns off display of your phone number for outgoing calls. Other than that, a great experience so far. My opinion...run, don't walk, and buy the phone. By the way, my phone falls under CDMA coverage and the coverage map on the back of the box matches the coverage map on this site.

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  9. does the triple-triple work with the monthly value plans? if I were to do the $19.99/125 minute plan, would I have 375 minuts 375 texts and 375mb data? Tracfone website doesnt really say anything about the triple-triple deal. Also can you BYOP and use triple-triple?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, triple-triple works with value plans and BYOP phones are triple-triple.

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