Verizon To Launch The Strangely-Named Pantech Marauder On August 2

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TechCrunch Makers: Georgia Tech’s Musical Robots

It’s a sad truth of the mobile industry: sometimes perfectly good smartphones are saddled with silly, effete, or otherwise ridiculous names.

Take the new Pantech Marauder, which Verizon just revealed a few moments ago. The name conjures up images of bandits roaming the plains in search of lily-livered prey to accost, but what you actually get is a ho-hum Ice Cream Sandwich-powered smartphone.

The Marauder’s spec sheet doesn’t provide much to write home about, but those aching for a physical QWERTY keyboard could do worse — it packs (among other things) 1.2GHz dual-core processor of unspecified make, plus 1GB of RAM, an LTE radio, and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Meanwhile, 3.8-inch 800 x 480 display is nestled front-and-center over a quarter of Android navigation soft keys. Perhaps the most interesting part of the device (aside from its completely incongruous name) is the fact that it allows users to switch between what Verizon calls Starter and Standard modes.

While Standard mode is the lightly-skinned default version of Ice Cream Sandwich that most people will stick with, Starter mode provides first time users and all-around luddites a simplified interface. Specifically, that entails four homescreens (as opposed to seven) loaded up with preset widgets, and a quick dialer icon that’s apparently very hard to miss.

Pantech’s previous U.S. handsets haven’t exactly been hits, but they’re generally solid enough devices (my personal favorite was this little guy). The combination that the Marauder brings to the table isn’t awful by any stretch, but it’s purely an entry-level device and it has the $49 price tag to match.