If you thought that we were long past the era of new Gingerbread phones, then U.S. Cellular has a surprise for you.
Today, the carrier announced the Alcatel Shockwave, a starter smartphone running Android 2.3. Yes, that means it comes almost a year after the first Ice Cream Sandwich handset, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, went on sale.
Though its design appears to be standard issue Android, Alcatel promises a "shock resistant casing, super tough" construction with Dragontrail glass (that's an alternative to Gorilla glass) over the 3.5-inch HVGA display. The water-resistant casing should stand up to scratches and sport rubber covers over the headset and charger ports.
The feature set is decidedly low-end with Wi-Fi, an 800MHz processor, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and a media player. And, of course, you can access to the full suite of Android features and apps.
The Shockwave is available today for for $49.99 with a smartphone-compatible plan. That's a bit pricey for such entry-level specs, but it remains one of the few opportunities for U.S. consumers to use an Alcatel phone.