The Philippines gets first Android tablet-phone

Philippine handset maker Cherry Mobile on Oct. 11 surprised many with the launch of Superion, the country’s first Android-powered tablet-phone.

The company also unveiled two Android handsets, the Nova and the Magnum HD. The three devices all have Qualcomm processors. 

Superion, which positions itself as a rival of the more expensive Samsung Galaxy Tab, has the following specifications:

  • Android OS 2.2 (Froyo)
  • Quadband GSM, 850/900/1900/2100
  • Triband UMTS 900/1900/2100
  • 7” WVGA Capacitive Touchscreen
  • Qualcomm MSM 7227 600 MHz Processor
  • 3G/HSDPA Connectivity
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth
  • GPS / AGPS
  • Standard Mini USB 2.0
  • G-Sensor
  • Ambient Light Sensor
  • Google Mobile Services (Gmail, Maps, Marketplace)
  • 512 MB ROM, 512 MB RAM
  • Expandable memory of 16GB
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 3 mega pixels with autofocus (back)
  • VGA camera (front)

Cherry Mobile said that the Superion would be priced at P19,990 (about $450) and will come with a leather case, a Bluetooth headset and a 4GB micro-SD card.

The Nova meanwhile will be sold at P11,490 (about $260) while the Magnum HD will carry a P18,990 (about $435) price tag. Click here to view the specs of the Nova and the Magnum.

With the introduction of these Android devices, Cherry Mobile, a leader in the lower-end, multiple-SIM handset market, appears to gun for a share in the medium and high-end market. This is good for consumers as it might trigger a price war and toe-to-toe comparisons with Android handsets now available in the market. If the established international brands manage to fend of Cherry Mobile’s challenge, the latter could just focus on its current market and encourage them to step up with the new Android handsets. Only time will tell.

Erstwhile leaders in Philippine handset sales, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, might feel the heat. The two handset makers have focused on ageing phone operating systems. In the case of Nokia, most of its smartphones use the Symbian S60, while Sony Ericsson’s Android line are nailed down to the old Cupcake version of the Google phone platform.