My girlfriend's cellphone drowned the other day when a can of Redbull got punctured in her handbag while the phone was in there. I tried to revive it by applying liberal amounts of IPA but to no avail - it hasn't powered on since.
So while she temporarily uses my old LG Arena (really nice hardware hobbled by terribly slow and buggy OS) I'm on the lookout for a new phone for her. Ideally she'd love something like an HTC Desire or iPhone but we don't want to spend any more than around $500 tops so that rules out a high end "super" phone. So we cast our eyes around some budget Android devices and I must admit I'm pretty impressed by what's out there.
One that stood out to me is the Ideos by Huawei - it is ridiculously cheap for what you get and is pretty feature packed. The other thing I really like about it is it's running vanilla Android (and is pretty current with 2.2) which in theory means it should receive updates pretty smartly. It's biggest two problems are it's screen resolution and it's processor speed - the former is only 240x320 which is a bit pokey even on a cheap device and the later is only 528MHz which makes things a bit laggy and jerky/stuttery when scrolling through menus etc.
So now it looks like we will probably go for the LG Optimus One (aka LG P500) - still budget (just under $400 or $450 with Ndrive navigation software with NZ maps and car cradle) but far more capable. Screen res is 320x480 which is the same as the iPhone 3GS or my Palm Pre and the processor is 600MHz (may not sound like much more than the Ideos but in practice makes a big difference), it is also running FroYo (Android 2.2) and LG have said they will release 2.3 for it. After using it in a store I'm impressed with how smooth it feels - a bit laggy compared to an iPhone but not jerky, and LG have managed to resist the temptation to skin the UI and keep things pretty standard. Of course it comes with all the usual Android goodies such as voice search and Google Goggles, not to mention a well stocked app store. The only reservations I have about it is I vowed I'd never buy another LG phone after my experience with the Arena (LG simply stopped releasing firmware updates for it and it was really buggy) but I figure if they're only supplying the hardware and leaving the software up to Google then things *should* be ok going forward. We'll see I guess...