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Budget Android goodness arrives

Got a smartphone? No? How come? Yes, they are expensive, aren't they.

But what if we told you you could get a powerful, up-to-date smartphone running the latest version of Google's Android software, for just £150 pay as you go?

Well, you can. Orange has just released its new Monte Carlo budget smartphone and, while we don't do endorsements here at Digitaledge, we've got to say it looks like an amazing bargain.

Let's look at the spec, shall we? The bad news first: the Monte Carlo has a mere 800MHz processor, less than most of the current crop of smartphones. But that's still fast enough to run most apps just fine and, the good news is, that's about the extent of the cost-cutting in this budget handset. With a big 4.3in screen, a 5 megapixel camera and a built-in FM radio, the Monte Carlo otherwise has everything you'd expect from a high-end handset for much less.

Most importantly, unlike some budget handsets, the Monte Carlo is running Google's 'Gingerbread' software, Android 2.3, the most up-to-date version for phones of the Android operating system. That means a stable, easy-to-use software setup with lots of apps.

What's the catch? Well, there's just one: on top of the £150 asking price, Orange expects you to top up £10 on your new pay as you go SIM card. Hardly the end of the world, though, is it?

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