Vodafone has launched a home brand - sorry, 'own label' - mobile email handset, the Vodafone 1210 VDA IV. It's a $399 smartphone, so it comes in cheaper than many beefier smartphones. It's running Windows Mobile 5.0, has 64MB memory built-in, and uses MicroSD with an included 1GB card and Media Player software on board as well as a standard headphone minijack (something many 'better' smartphones often lack).
What's the catch? It's just a question of compromise.Obviously you aren't getting all the bells and whistles, but it's got the essentials and in the time we've had to have a play, the interface is comfortable enough. It's running Opera Mobile for a pleasant enough mobile web experience, and no Office is on board, but ClearVue gives access to all your Office files.
The MicroSD goes in under the battery, so no swapsies on the fly. No camera either, but that can be important if you're working in a paranoid big business.
The biggest issue is whether there are many users out there who want an email enabled handset, but are happy with a standard phone keypad AND are business users. Apart from the odd 'OK' response to emails, replying to an email can be intensive. And then, if you aren't replying to many messages, why not use a web handset to check in casually - if you are going for a less than high-end number in the first place?
Are many business users looking for a cut price smartphone option?
FYI, the handset is manufactured by Asus, with a keypad that looks very Sony Ericsson.