By Patrick Avenell (Follow me on Twitter)

The mobile phone market is in need of a new sub-category, with releases such as today’s Huawei Ideos X1 so far below rival handsets they surely can’t all be considered ‘smartphones’.

The term ‘Superphone’ has been bandied about, but with high-end handsets such as the Galaxy S II, the Desire S and the iPhone 4 all carrying the smartphone tag, it’s the bottom end that should change. Maybe Huaweiphone will take off?

Today’s release is a smartphone in name only, with every possible feature scaled back to fit an RRP $99 price point (exclusive through Optus from 1 July 2011).

Features of this Huaweiphone include Android 2.2 (Froyo) operating system running on a Qualcomm MSM7225 processor, 3.2-megapixel camera, 256MB internal memory (expandable through MicroSD). The Ideos X1 has a 2.8-inch QVGA TFT (320×240) touchscreen. There’s also a MicroUSB port for data transfer and charging, but that’s about it.

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Optus consumer marketing director Gavin Williams said he was happy to get his hands on a sub-$100 smartphone.

“We're very pleased to be offering our customers an affordable and highly impressive Android Smartphone,” said Williams. “Devices such as the X1 from Huawei really demonstrate the range of smartphone options which are available on the Android platform, as well as the quality handsets which are available across a range of price points for both pre-paid and post-paid customers.”

Huawei will have the opportunity to impress at the real smartphone end of the category tomorrow, when they hold their 2011 product showcase in Sydney.

The new Huawei Ideos X1 (RRP $99).