Good news for cash-strapped smartphone lovers

Once upon a time, Android handsets were posh things for people with a bit of money. It was fine if you were happy to sign a 2-year contract, but if you were on pay as you go, getting an Android phone meant dropping £200 or more.

Then along came the Orange San Francisco. We're not afraid to gush about this marvellous little device, which proved that a budget Android handset could still pack in great features like a 3.2 megapixel camera and a super-bright AMOLED screen - all for less than £100 on pay as you go.

So we're excited to know that the San Francisco is getting a sequel. The San Francisco wasn't made by Orange themselves, of course: it was made by ZTE, who have taken over HTC's old mantle as the main manufacturer of operator-branded phone handsets. Its real name was the ZTE Racer, and now there's a follow-up, the ZTE Skate.

And it looks ever so nice. It follows the trend in Android phones towards greater size, with a 4.3-inch screen with a rivals-matching 800x480 resolution. And though its 800MHz processor is less powerful than you'd find in something like the HTC Desire HD, it's more than fast enough for most people's needs. And there's an iPhone 4-matching 5-megapixel camera, to boot.

All in all, it's looking like a worthy successor to the Racer - and will hopefully be equally wallet-friendly. And what's more, you won't need to be on Orange to get it - unlike the Racer, it's expected to hit all the UK networks later in the year. Huzzah!

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