FreedomPop is launching its first Android tablet… and the best thing you can say about it is that the FreedomPop Liberty is cheap.

It’s a $89 tablet with a 7 inch WiFi-only tablet.

Why would a wireless carrier like FreedomPop launch a WiFi-only device? Because you don’t need a 3G or 4G connection to make voice calls or send text messages over the FreedomPop network. The carrier offers Voice over IP services that work at least as well over WiFi as they do over a mobile connection.

freedompop liberty

FreedomPop already offers a handful of cheap Android smartphones and wireless hotspots that let you connect to mobile broadband on the go. The Liberty tablet is something a bit different… it’s a cheap device designed to get people hooked on the FreedomPop service.

The company’s business plan up until now has involved giving away limited amounts of free data and/or voice and SMS services and selling inexpensive plans to customers who want more.

According to GigaOM, the FreedomPop Liberty tablet is part of the company’s efforts to bring more sub-$100 smartphones to the US market. It’s questionable whether a 7 inch, WiFi-only tablet qualifies as a phone… but you can use it to make calls using FreedomPop’s VoIP apps.

The company plans to launch a $99 version called the Frenzy in November. That version will feature a 4G LTE radio which means you will be able to use it on the go more like a traditional phone. FreedomPop also plans to launch a $89 smartphone with LTE support in the coming months.

The Liberty tablet features the kind of specs you’d expect from a cheap tablet including a 7 inch, 1024 x 600 pixel display, a 1.2 GHz ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a microSD card slot, and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. It has a 4MP rear camera and 0.3MP front-facing camera, a capacitive touchscreen, and a 2400mAh battery.

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2 replies on “FreedomPop launches a $89 tablet”

  1. FreedomPop could deliver uber cheap “phones” by just
    releasing iPod-like devices without cellular radios. This
    is how they work on iPhones, as an app which can
    make/receive calls via WiFi.

    They also have a problem in that they use Sprint.
    Sprint’s network is much, much slower than competitors.
    A CNET comparo in San Jose, CA, showed Sprint’s LTE
    throughput at 3 (not a typo) megabits/second vs from
    30 to 40 megabits for AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile LTE.
    Sprint is upgrading its network (extremely slowly) and
    aggregating up to 3 LTE bands for much higher throughput,
    under the marketing moniker Spark. Eventually (hopefully
    sometime before hell freezes over), Sprint may be able to
    deliver speeds comparable to or exceeding its rivals. The
    theoretical burst speed claims are mind-boggling, up to 150-180
    megabits/second, all the way up to 1 gigabit/second.

    The catch is, you’ll need a tri-band LTE phone (not cheap),
    and only a handful of all the phones Sprint sells now are tri-band.
    Look for the Spark logo in the phone’s description on the
    Sprint website.

    Verizon has something similar going on, under the marketing
    label XLTE. In fact, all carriers are upgrading their networks
    in an arms race of sorts.

    Unfortunately, all these changes may not work with existing
    phones, so if you want to keep up, you’ll have to keep
    buying a new phone from time to time.

    FreedomPop, selling obsolete or older devices on single
    band LTE (slow), WiMax (slow), or CDMA EVDO (painful),
    is unable to sell tri-band phones now, as Sprint doesn’t activate
    phones from the likes of FreedomPop until 1 year from the
    phone’s initial selling date on Sprint, and most tri-bands are
    still under embargo.

    Maybe FreedomPop’s price-conscious customers don’t
    notice the abysmal speed of Sprint’s metwprk. Or its focusing
    on WiFi will keep customers satisfied until refurb tri-band
    phones become cheap and plentiful. FreedomPop having
    a $100 tri-band phone made to order? Doutful for the
    foreseeable future.

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