Grab the Cincinnati Bell Blaze for $99

Similar to the release (or lack thereof?) of the LG Ally last week, another lower-end handset came to market under the radar as everyone fussed over Google I/O. The regional carrier Cincinnati Bell dropped the Commtiva Blaze onto its airwaves for $99.99 on a two-year contract (and after a $100 mail-in rebate). The phone retails for $299.99 off contract.

blaze_200x296

I hate to say it, but with the introduction of 2.2, Android 1.6 is looking more “meh” than ever. Hard to get excited about all of these “legacy” Android phones (see Android team Q&A), but if you are on Cincinnati Bell and want to get your hands on their exclusive Android handset, have at it.

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  • Jonathan

    1.6 is like running Windows 98.

  • Elsydeon

    Lol least its running 1.6 not 1.5 like the cliq LOL

  • http://joshdobbs.com Josh

    1.6 or not, that looks like a great budget phone

  • justin

    i bought this phone and they are having problems with it phone will not allow users to recieve calls or text while using any application that is linked to the internet. and no one has the answers to why that is happening so i basically have a answering machine when i want to use the internet not a cell phone

  • Mac

    there are many carrier that offer (way) better android phones (spec wise) for free under contract, or at a very similar price.. why would some one buy this crap?

  • covert

    @Mac

    cause in AMERICA no phone is ever free. $99 on contract is a budget phone. everything else is 150-200

  • Mike

    Went to look at Blaze at Cincy Bell store. They were out, but looked at display. Sales person said it was running on 1.5. We both thought we saw it was 1.6. Can anyone confirm? Also, she had no idea if it would ever get updated to 2.2.

  • Nate
  • timmyjoe42

    I could see why someone would be on Cincy Bell out here because they have above average GSM coverage, give discounts to local businesses, and have excellent pricing plans that are cheaper than T-Mobile, AT+T, and Verizon. I’m happy enough with my Cliq.

  • Jim

    Cincinnati Bell has been “facilitating” (just like T-Mobile) the Nexus One since it was launched. If you want Android on greater Cincinnati’s fastest 3G network, that’s the way to go.

  • walkout

    I love how people will bash a product that they most likely have never seen in person nor even messed around with. Further, a quick glance at a phone in a store is not a good way to test a phone out. I personally own this phone and while it is not the best phone out there, it does really well for being only $99. If they make it so that 2.2 is compatible with this phone like they say they are at the stores, then it will be even better. Recommended buy and FYI, this phone sold out within the first couple days of being released. Sounds like the people know what they want.

  • Nate

    @ walkout, are you having the same trouble as justin (post 4)??? I’m with Cincinnati Bell and considering picking this up.

    Cincinnati Bell is great! Much cheaper than T-Mobile. I get a discount from my company. Unlimited text and data in one bundle!!!

  • http://www.sean-feeney.com Sean Feeney

    I have the Blaze and yes, it’s running 1.6. It does not have a problem with Internet-connected apps – I receive calls no matter what I’m doing. But it does have a problem with the light and/or proximity sensor which was supposedly fixed in newer Android OS versions. If you’re in a call you can’t access the on-screen phone pad to enter numbers unless you have a UV light source nearby. It’s strange, since I wouldn’t think a proximity sensor would be UV sensitive. So yeah, you only get to check your voicemail during the day and only then if you’re near a window or outside! Lame that a simple OS update would fix this, and yet no update is scheduled to be rolled out.

    I do have an open call with Cincinnati Bell’s distributer, Q1 Wireless, which Commtiva forwards all support requests to. Apparently Q1 is who puts the outdated OS on these phones. I’m calling them out on certain apps not being available in the Android Market – uStream Broadcaster, for example. Even one of the barcode scanner apps that Cincinnati Bell used in advertising the phone is unavailable on the Blaze via the Android Market. I don’t know the cause – it’s not copy protection, I can see the copy protect test app just fine – but I am betting it has to do with certain apps only working with 2.x up.

    Anyone have any idea where I can download Android 2.1 and install it on the Blaze myself?

  • loveit

    I have this phone and it works great!!!! I have had no issues with it, I have had several things going at one time and still get texts, emails, and phone calls…not sure what anyone else is talking about but Cincy bell has the best plans around…and I have shopped around to ALL the other companies and no one can touch their prices!!!!

  • MagicMike

    Yes, I agree with Nate — Cincinnati Bell is the way to go! With them I have high-speed internet (at home) and 2 wireless lines (family shared plan) with 750 minutes, unlimited nights/weekends, unlimited text and data (3G) on both lines, all bundled for $110 (including taxes!) per month. I have the Nexus One and my wife has a Blackberry. There’s no way you can even come close to this with the national carriers!

  • steve

    1.6 is 2.1 with a different wrapper, got the phone for 50 bucks and it aint perfect, but definitely worth it. 1.6 isnt windows 98, thats stupid do your research I have a 32 gig I pod touch that is now just a music player, gps with no map fees. Love it!

  • http://yahoo JimmyJay

    I have my phone since day launched. paid 300 (no contract
    a 100 rebate..16 weeks, Luv it. 1.6 is sufficent, the battery life sucks.. but it does on the iPhone. I kept my old phone, for a phone, and added this one, a ten dollars more. that why I have a app “phone” and a cell phone. We are lucky to have CinBell..if you bundle, can’t be beat.My son has a iPhone and we had a “phone-off” my phone is better than yours! and I think the droid more than holds it own. Of course you always get, “mine is better/faster/prettier.” get one and a Ipad to go with it

  • http://www.sean-feeney.com Sean Feeney

    Curious how many of the commenters here are employed by the social media dept at CBT?

    “1.6 is 2.1 with a different wrapper” – seriously? You go ahead and try and download any new app…uStream Broadcaster for example…and see how that works out for you. 1.6 is the Windows 98 of the Android world…any software you attempt to buy new won’t work on it, and simple things (using the touchpad during a call while in the dark) don’t work!

    I’m a loyal bundled CBT customer, but admit when your exclusive phone has problems and attempt to solve them…don’t just push the marketing harder.

  • Jesse

    Alright people, The phone is decent, and I happen to own it, had it for a day or so. Before I bought it I got in touch directly with Commtiva they are currently testing this phone platform for Q1 has nothing to do with it. They are planning on doing beta testing with the 2.0 update shortly. I have benchmarked this phone with Quadrant and it tests better than the Motorola Droid for Verizon… so this isn’t as much of a budget phone as you think… its 600Mhz processor is actually pretty decent as well as the 5MP camera. Im just trying to figure out why all of you a downing the phone who don’t own it?? Just be patient, I have never had a problem with being on the web and receiving calls I actually just tested it so…an Update is coming soon

  • http://Question Brandnoo

    I am a new owner of the Blaze and trying to find out how to download music from the computer to the phone? Can anyone answer that question…

  • Ryan

    So I have this phone too on CBW. I’m not getting the calling/internet app problem, nor the ‘dial-pad in the dark’ problem listed in #13 above. But, I found that overall, it is a little inconsistent. For example, I may be typing a text, and for a brief amount of time(for one second max), it will freeze up, then spit out all of the characters I typed while it was frozen. Pretty minor stuff.

    Other than that, I have noticed only one thing, and I’m guessing that happens to be with the OS (as the same problem appeared on somebody else’s Blaze). The problem is when in portrait texting mode, holding the “En” key on will bring up texting options. Under “Layout in Portrait Mode”, I can go in and access all three options, but it never seems to save these options (and doesn’t seem to be a way (like a ‘save changes’ button) to do this).

    But, it was $100, I can’t complain. And bundling w/ other data phones on the plan, it’s only $20/month! I would get it if you like tinkering with new technology. May not have all the latest bells and whistles, but really cool none the less!

  • Greg

    Quadrant Blaze resulted in a rank of 408 which is slightly higher than Moto Droid but lower than HTC Desire in the performance graph.

    System:
    SDK version:1.6
    ID: DONUT
    OS name: Linux
    OS version: 2.6.29

    Device:
    Model: CBW Blaze
    Product: Blaze
    Board: Blaze
    Brand: CBW
    Fingerprint: CBW/Blaze/Blaze/Blaze:1.6/DONUT/1002_1_24A:user/release-keys

    CPU:
    Name: ARMv6-compatible processor rev5 (v6l)
    Current freq: 480 MHz
    Max freq: 600MHz
    Min freq: 122.88 MHz
    Cores: 1
    Architecture: 6TEJ
    BogoMIPS: 478.41
    Hardware: QCT MSM7x27 SURF
    Revision: 5

  • Sal Marino

    Does anybody know who makes the Blaze for Cincinnati Bell?

  • Quentyn Kennemer

    @Sal Marino Commtiva does.

  • Tristan

    I live in Thailand and a thai company launched the very same phone a couple of month ago (280 USD without a plan). The phone is a hit here and one the first phone popularising android in the country where everyone is basically BB and iPhone. Its manufactured by Foxconn in Taiwan and the phone has many names depending on where its sold:

    China: Apanda A60 – http://www.apanda.com.cn/
    Taiwan: Vibo A688 – http://www.vibo.com.tw/C…1260213e5b00059,,,.html
    Thailand: Wellcom A88 – http://www.wellcommobile.com/th/a88.html

    We will get a free upgrade to 2.1 in a few month according to Wellcom.

    its a pretty cool toy and my first android. Donut is enough to play around with and all new app work so far (just installed swype today and it works perfectly). they are releasing a black shiny version soon.

    no problem so far except battery being shit. but improving with time i have the impression.

  • JW

    Hello, To all those that have had a chance to trial this phone. (blaze/a60/a688) Does the GPS work as a stand alone chip without the need for wifi or a data plan? (like a in car, garmin/tomtom type device? THanks!

  • Ken

    Re: Hello, To all those that have had a chance to trial this phone. (blaze/a60/a688) Does the GPS work as a stand alone chip without the need for wifi or a data plan? (like a in car, garmin/tomtom type device? THanks!

    With data disabled in settings GPS worked fine with google maps/navigation.

    Does anyone know if there’s a resonable chance that the CBW version will be upgraded to 2.1 or 2.0.?!

    I mean if Wellcom can do it I don’t see why not. I really hope they’ll come through. Anyways, decent phone

  • Rachel

    I was looking at getting the Blaze from Cincinnati Bell. I am looking at all of the phones, regrardless of the prices.
    I am a texting-addict(I have the Pearl now) is it easy to text on the Blaze? Texting is all on the touchscreen, correct? Can you text fast? And if the Blaze isn’t a good texting phone… can you please tell me what is?
    Thanks. :)

  • Sancho Vamos

    Android powered phones (like the blaze) can ne customized with keyboards from the android market. Zing zang zoom pow. ShapeWriter is the shit. The blaze is a fine phone, I haste it for running 1.6. With an update I would be much happier

  • Eddy g

    I have cincinnati bell and have a Nokia phone but i have an ipod touch and want to be able to have wifi on ipod touch in car when I go on vacation.Now my Nokia phone is starting to break and have warranty so what im trying to say is CAN YOU GET THE BLAZE TO HAVE A WIFI HOTSPOT!!!!!!!

  • BMW

    To answer Eddy’s question. Yes, you can get WIFI with CB hotspots or any WIFI if you have access.

    BTW, the phone is made by a Chinese communication company in Shenzhen. They have a company registered in US under the name Commtiva.

  • http://Itcanberooted! BMW

    A little digging on the web confirms that the Blaze can be rooted. I am going to give it a shot!

  • Phoenix5x

    Well I was able to upgrade my Blaze to the 2.1 OS…I love it…A few little quarks to fix but really neat all in all.

  • http://phandroid.com/2010/05/24/grab-the-cincinnati-bell-blaze-for-99/ Mark

    Have had my Blaze for several months and love it. How do I upgrade to 2.1?

  • adogg1122

    just got a blaze from a friend !! i love it.. but how do i know if its 1.5 or 1.6 ? and also the gmail account is under them .. how do i change it to my account so i can download apps?

  • barbara andrews

    I have the blaze phone through cincinnatti bell and I absolutely love it…It does everything a computer does…just a mini computer that you can call from….best phone ever in my opinion….need to check it out if you do not have one or haven’t checked it out yet.

  • caretaker

    I have the blaze and its running on 2.1. Its doing great and have no problems with it at all!

  • SinSal

    I just purchased the Blaze a couple of weks ago and find the keyboard a bit hard to use. ( It’s too small) I keep fat fingering the keypad no matter how careful I am. Is there a good app availabe, preferably free, that has a better keyboard?

    I also find the touch screen very sensitive. When I am scrolling on a screen, whether an internet page or other, it will jump back to the home page. I then have to reenter all my information to get back to the page I was on. This gets very frustrating. this is the first touch screen phone I have owned, so I realize there is a learning curve. Are all touch screen phone this way?

  • Julie

    I have cincinnati bell blaze and want to know how to get swype texting anyone???

  • rbeetz1

    I have the Blaze an after I updated it to 2.1 then did the root I found a update for 2.2 Now i really like it but Still can’t find swype for it. If someone can help please let me know. Thanks

  • zailer

    hi all bell users ,

    how is the 5 mp camara ? indoor outdoor shoots ?and battery life? multimedia/music ??

    and those from Tiwan what are the other names of COMMTIVA Z51 ???

    it only misses a track ball rest all same … thanks