StraightTalk has officially launched its first GSM Android phone in the ZTE Merit, which is its own version of the Avail currently available on AT&T. The Avail is an entry-level Android phone featuring the following specifications:
Operating System: Android Gingerbread
Processor: 600 mhz
Screen size: 3.5 inches
Resolution: 320 x 480 HVGA
USB: Micro USB
Size: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.5
Battery: 16 days standby/5.5 hours talk time
Weight 4.1 (ounces)
Camera: 5 Megapixels
Preinstalled 2 GB microSD card with purchase
Pricing for the Merit is set at $99.99 with the phone being available with either the $45 national unlimited plan or the newer $60 unlimited plan with unlimited international calling.
This marks the first AT&T powered GSM Android phone for the virtual operator, as previous Android smartphones have been powered by Sprint and more recently, Verizon. Straight Talk previously planned to bring out its first GSM Android smartphone with the LG Optimus 2X along with an expanded deal with T-Mobile earlier this year, but the deal collapsed in early March at the last minute due to disagreements on rates and support, as T-Mobile’s current agreement with the provider only involves feature phones with minimal support for data access.
Update 05-22-12: Not long after this post went live yesterday, StraightTalk raised the price of the Merit by $30 to $129.99 without warning. When contacted directly for a response, StraightTalk representatives cited an “internal error” as the cause for the initial listing, as the phone retails for $129.99 in Walmart locations.