By Anu Passary email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Jan 11, 2013 01:22 PM EST
With the CES frenzy reaching fever proportions, U.S. carrier AT&T managed to sneak in an announcement for its Pantech Discover smartphone. The latest offering from the carrier will hit the U.S. shelves on Jan. 11 and is a steal at just $49.99 on a two-year contract.
"Pantech is taking 2013 by storm with the launch of Discover," said Gary Cherner, VP of marketing and sales at Pantech. "By launching products at very competitive price points, Pantech is continuing to prove that high quality smartphones don't need to come with a high price tag."
Pantech Discover is the first AT&T smartphone that comes pre-loaded with the AT&T DriveMode app, which is "designed to help prevent texting while driving." The app can be set-up to respond automatically to incoming messages once the car has crossed the 25mph speed limit, and will send a reply that can even be customized.
The Pantech Discover's pricing may mislead one into believing that the smartphone will be a slouch and have low-end features. This couldn't be further from the truth as the smartphone's features packs in quite a punch, especially given the $49.99 price tag.
The device sports a 4.8-inch HD display with 1280 x 720 pixels resolution. Under the hood the Pantech Discover packs in a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, and a 2100mAh battery (approximately 10 hours of talk time. The NFC-enabled smartphone also has 12.6-megapixel primary camera with 4X zoom that can record 1080p HD videos.
A noteworthy feature of the Pantech Discover is that it houses dual 3D surround-sound speakers, which are located on either side of the device.
"The Pantech Discover combines a feature-packed experience - complete with a 12.6-megapixel camera and HD display - with a cost-effective price point, giving AT&T customers yet another strong option in our 4G LTE portfolio," stated Jeff Bradley ,SVP- Devices, AT&T. "AT&T is dedicated to educating customers about the dangers of texting while driving and providing real solutions to help prevent the behavior. With DriveMode pre-loaded on the Discover, we hope that users will be less likely to text and drive."
The press release doesn't give details of the front-facing snapper or the OS. However, it is likely that the Pantech Discover will come with Android 4.0 or later out of the box.
Irrespective of the Android version, the smartphone will have the Easy Experience and Standard Experience modes that the Pantech Flex, released in September 2012, has. The Easy Experience mode enables users to prioritize apps on the home screen in an easy-to-read format. Users can even swap from the Easy Experience to the classic Standard Experience format.
With the Pantech Discover set to hit the U.S. market on Jan. 11, it remains to be seen if the budget friendly AT&T smartphone can set the cash registers ringing.