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Prepaid Phones

AT&T GoPhone gets Motorola RAZR in red

Remember the days when everyone had a RAZR? I hardly see ‘em anymore, but that doesn’t mean the cell companies aren’t selling them. Word is now, via Phone News, that AT&T will start carrying the RAZR in red. Apparently, they’d wanted to for a while, but couldn’t because of some strange exclusivity deal on the color with Sprint. Now that Sprint has discontinued the RAZR, it looks like AT&T is in the clear. You can get it now at AT&T’s website.

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The best prepaid phones for text messaging

Text messaging is a craze. It’s more popular than even phone calls: Americans send and receive and average of 357 text messages per month against an average of 204 phone calls. It is especially popular among the younger crowds. Teens aged 13 through 17 send and receive and average of 1,742 texts per month, while holding just 231 phone calls. Even the coveted 18 to 24 demographic has texts ahead of calls, 790 to 265. Today, we’ll look through our pay as you go cell phone providers and see which phones stack up best for button tapping.

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Get the Sony Ericsson W580i Walkman on AT&T Go Phone for $110

The Sony Ericsson W580i Walkman phone has been available through AT&T Go Phone for a while now, but it always hovered at that prohibitive $160 price. Now we see, via dealnews, that AT&T has sweetened the pot with a $50 rebate. You can get it now at the AT&T website.

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First Open Development phone set to hit Verizon

Last November, I was shocked to hear that Verizon would be allowing third party applications and phones on its network. It just…it just didn’t seem like something Verizon would do at the time. Since then we’ve found out that the deal isn’t completely open, but it’s certainly an idea worth exploring. AirVoice Wireless, a prepaid wireless company, has developed the first handset. It will cost $69 and it should be available soon. The question is, on what service will you be able to use it?

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Virgin bringing the Shuffle

See those two not-so-great pics above? They’re the new Virgin Mobile Shuffle, or the UTStarcom 8954. I first heard it from Ian, but then checked out this thread at Howard Forums, which has some info and speculation. Looks like it will drop in the fourth quarter. The original post mentions that it’s an update to the Slider Sonic…so maybe it will have a music player? Rumors also have it coming with a 2 megapixel camera. And since we’re dishing rumors right now, the price looks to be $100, $120, somewhere in that range. We’ll have more info once it becomes official, or we hear more rumors.

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Samsung A137 hits AT&T GoPhone

Yesterday we got word about another Samsung AT&T Go Phone addition yesterday, via Phone Scoop. This time it’s the A137. It’s nothing special, but seems like a decent prepaid value for the dollar. And MP3 player, Bluetooth, aGPS, and a WAP browser, giving it access to MEdiaNet. No camera, unfortunately. It’ll only cost around $40, so if they throw in some free airtime, this can be a decent option. Flip-open pic after the jump.

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Sony Ericsson Z750 for $39.99 on AT&T Go Phone

Here’s a nice little deal, coming your way via CrunchGear. It’s the Sony Ericsson 750, a 3G clamshell phone featuring a 2 megapixel camera. It’s actually a music phone, too, supporting all the major formats (MP3, AAC, WMA, M4A, etc.). As such, it has an expandable microSD slot to go on top of the 32 megs of on-board memory. Not only is the phone cheap at $39.99, but it comes with a $25 prepaid airtime card, putting your net at $15. You could do a whole lot worse with a prepaid phone.

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Nokia 2680 headed for AT&T Go Phone

Looks like we’ve got some more prepaid phone talk today. And, like our previous discussion, we don’t have a clue when this device will hit shelves. This hit a few sources, but I picked it up from Gadgetell. It appears the Nokia 2680 slider has passed FCC muster, and will be headed for AT&T. How do we know this? If you peek above, you can see the AT&T logo. It features a VGA camera (640×480), which can take video clips — or at least it says so in the manual (pdf). It also features a music player, though I didn’t see any section suggesting the inclusion of a microSD slot.

Looks like the price tag will be around $115, but that’s anything but confirmed.

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Virgin Mobile launches TNT

You might have seen this elsewhere over the past day or so. We covered the Virgin Mobile TNT over a month ago. Looks like it’s ready for purchase now. You can nab it for $20. Not a bad deal at all.

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Deal: Nokia 2610 with $100 airtime for $80 with AT&T GoPhone

Today’s deal comes our way via dealnews.com. If you don’t have any prejudices against refurbished phones, you can get a Nokia 2610 from AT&T Go Phone, essentially for free. The package, from AT&T’s website, costs $80, and it comes with $100 in airtime. So you’re really getting a phone and a free $20 of airtime. Sweet deal.

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Bluetooth for your prepaid cell phone

So, it’s come to this. While the majority of states don’t yet have laws which ban cell phone handset use while driving, the trend seems to be moving that way. In July, California and Washington state added such restrictions. They join Connecticut, Washington D.C., New Jersey, New York, and the U.S. Virgin Islands as states which completely ban the use of a handset while driving. Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Illinois have particular jurisdictions which ban the practice, though it’s not statewide. So what’s a prepaid user to do? Get a Bluetooth, of course. Problem is, it’s not as easy to find on the usually low-end selection of prepaid phones from most carriers.

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Nab the Web browsing LG CG180 from AT&T GoPhone for $10

I’ve been running across some prepaid wireless deals lately, and I thought I’d start passing them along. Today’s comes via a link from xpdig, a social news site which pretty much rips off Digg. Anyway, today we’re looking at the LG CG180 from AT&T Go Phone. It might look like a simple candybar, but it provides some bang for your buck — especially considering that the bucks are only 10, after a mail-in rebate.

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Verizon Blitz messaging phone to hit INpulse

That little guy right there? That’s the Verizon Blitz. It used to be the UTStarcom TXT8010, but now its been rebranded for the same of having a snazzy name. Engadget Mobile lets us know that it will be part of the INpulse prepaid lineup. Wal-Mart will carry it beginning August 8, with Best Buy piggybacking on September 28. It already looks like one of the best Verizon prepaid handsets, featuring access to VCAST Music, Bluetooth, 1.3 megapixel camera, access to VZNavigator, and a microSD slot. No price yet, though I suppose we’ll find out in the next few days.

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Orange France flicks their BICs

“So, what does your company do?”

“Oh, we mass manufacture pens and lighters, mainly. Oh, and prepaid cell phones.”

Yes, we’re talking about BIC, the ubiquitous pen maker. They’re taking a foray into the prepaid cell industry, though I can’t seem to figure out why. With so many companies fine-tuning their specialty, BIC is seemingly looking to expand theirs. Available through Orange Fracnce, the BIC phone — can we call it the bPhone? — is an entry-level phone for the carrier’s prepaid service.

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Cell phone trafficking attracts national attention

Nearly two months ago, we learned of the decision against a mobile phone trafficker. The conviction effort was spearheaded by Tracfone, a major victim in the trafficking game. The process is simple. Many prepaid phones offer starter kits, which include subsidized phones and a small helping of minutes. The idea is that future minutes will make up the cost of the phone. Traffickers, however, buy these phones in bulk, reflash or unlock them to work on other networks, and sell them around the world. So the real losers are the carriers. While we heard some rumblings of news two months ago, this story is just starting to garner national attention.

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The best in Motorola prepaid phones

It’s been a while since we ran our feature on the best Samsung prepaid phones. Now we go to Motorola, makers of the infamous RAZR. Back in 2005, that model propelled them to one of the premier handset makers in the country, even the world. Now, though, they’ve slipped. They’re sliding down the world rankings, and don’t seem to have a major device around the corner to pick them back up. Regardless, they still do have a number of useful phones out there, especially on the prepaid end. So let’s take a look through our pay as you go phone providers to see what they’ve got.

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TNT!: Another new model from Virgin Mobile

On Thursday, just before we headed out the door for the long weekend, we saw that Virgin Mobile put a new phone on the market: the Arc, a $50 basic clamshell. Later on on the weekend, we learned of another handset launch. This one is the TNT!, exclamation point included. It’s even more basic than the Arc, as it doesn’t feature Bluetooth. Just a full color interior screen and a monochrome exterior display. You can check out the full details at Virgin’s website. Neat-o picture after the jump.

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Reviewing the MetroPCS Kyocera K312P

CNET has reviewed the Kyocera K312P from MetroPCS. Normally, this wouldn’t be a huge deal. But this handset is the one that features their push to talk service, and is currently the only handset in the lineup which does so. Let’s take a look and see what CNET says about it.

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Reviewing the Samsung Slash

No, I haven’t been able to get my hands on the new Samsung Slash from Virgin Mobile. But our pals at infoSync have the skinny. And they’re not too impressed, though that’s totally relative. It might not stand up to higher-end phones, but for a prepaid phone through Virgin, it actually holds up pretty well.

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States consider requiring ID for prepaid phone

We know that Congress is aiming to put restrictions on prepaid phones. But how exactly will they do that? On the one hand, yes, you want to be able to have some idea of who is purchasing these phones. As has been noted by many, prepaid phones are widely used in drug deals. But to restrict the purchase of prepaid phones too much is to weaken the industry. It appears now that some states are looking to require photo ID when purchasing a prepaid phone.

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Are mid-range phones on the way out?

Yesterday, Forbes took a look at low-cost cellphones. So I thought it would be nice to share with the folks at Prepaid Reviews. But then I got to thinking about a theme I was hearing earlier in the month during seminars at CTIA. Carrier-subsidized phones is really a U.S. thing. Many experts and insiders expect this trend to fade away. So without subsidies, customers will have to think about exactly what it is they want and need in a phone. And it could become an all or nothing decision.

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First Alcatel phone hits U.S. MVNO

I actually saw this story earlier this week, but left it alone. Why? Because while it sounds nifty that Alcatel is launching their first phone in the U.S., I was a bit confused. See, they said it was going to launch on O2. When I think O2, I think the British carrier. Alas, My confusion has been corrected. It appears that they’re talking about O2, as in Locus O2, one of our featured pay as you go phone providers. So all the sudden, this is exciting news.

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Disposable handsets readying for Europe

Here’s something I missed at CTIA: American gadget maker Hop-on was showing a disposable GSM phone. To save on costs, the model doesn’t have an LCD screen. It seems like a gimmicky enough idea, at least gimmicky enough for a distributor to put in an order for a 10,000-phone test run. However, don’t expect the $20 phone to be in America anytime soon.

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Growing demand for prepaid phones in convenience stores

If you had to guess, where would you think a convenience store in Texas would make more money: At the gas pumps, or inside the store? With the cost of fuel nowadays, it might be intuitive to answer “inside the store.” According to Mary Sullivan, owner of San Angelo, Texas-based Town & Country, that’s not the case. She claims that in the year ending December 30, 2007, they made $52 million more in gross profits form in-store merchandise than at the pumps. “Sullivan says lottery tickets and pre-paid phone cards for pay-as-you-go cell phones have been big growth categories.”

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Another option for senior cell users

Ever since I wrote about Jitterbug and their outrageous 50-cents-per-minute rate, I’ve been hoping that an alternative phone would come out for senior callers. Yeah, Verizon has the Coup, which has special plans attached to it. Still, there’s room for competition. Verizon’s plan provides too many minutes for emergency-only callers, and too few minutes for grandparents who want to talk to their grandchildren. We might be seeing some competition down the road, though, as Clarity has announced an elderly-friendly phone.

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Nokia, Kyocera entering the AWS market

We’ve been hearing a ton about the Advanced Wireless Services market lately, mainly because Cricket and MetroPCS have rolled out networks. And where there are new networks, there need to be new phones to work on them. What we’ve seen so far is kind of unimpressive, at least by new-fangled cell phone standards. There’s no “awesome” phone among the three announced by Metro and Cricket. But with new players entering the market for AWS handsets, that might change pretty quickly.

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Survey to show cell phones empower people

At 1:30 EDT today, the results of a survey of 1,005 Americans, and a separate one of 110,000 prepaid cell users, will be revealed. Nicholas P. Sullivan, a research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be presenting the results. So what should we expect to hear? That the cell phone can be and is a powerful income-generating tool for low-income individuals. Well, at least that’s the interesting part. They’ll also talk about how a large percentage of Americans have used cell phones in emergency situations (with an 81 percent penetration rate, that’s unsurprising).

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The ins and outs of prepaid SIM cards

Right from the outside, some prepaid cell users might be saying “what the heck is a SIM card?” Legitimate question, actually. Though SIM cards are commonplace for some of us, for others they’re completely foreign. This is because SIMs are not used by CDMA networks — they’re only used by GSM and iDEN networks. For a fuller explanation of GSM and CDMA networks, you can check out an oldie but goodie on Prepaid Reviews.

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Virgin launches LG Flare

There has been much focus over the past few days on Virgin Mobile. They didn’t fare too well in the latter part of 2007, causing their stock to decline. And there was also the matter of an ad capitalizing on the scandal of former New York governor Eliot Spitzer. Lost in that fray was the release of Virgin’s first phone with a Spanish language interface: The LG Flare.

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Boost Unlimited gets Motorola KRZR

Boost Unlimited has been growing rapidly over the past nine or so months. They’ve picked up hundreds of thousands of customers (sometimes to the detriment of their “PayGo” division), and have expanded their services area to nearly a dozen new markets. The one consistent complaint, though, is that they have almost no handset selection. This is par for the course for Boost, who offer just three handsets on their “PayGo” side. On Boost Unlimited, they only had two, but now they’ve picked up a third: the Motorola KRZR.

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Guess the top 10 mobile phone makers

A bunch of articles circulated this morning regarding the top 10 mobile phone makers in the world. The spin on nearly every one of them: Apple entered the fray at No. 10. This is remarkable, since they have only one handset, and just started selling it in June. But it is the iPhone, and it’s been pretty damn popular so far. But after reading through four or five of these and seeing that they’re for the most part the same, I started to wonder: Where’s the list? They give us an idea of who places where, but no one lists one through 10. So here we go. There will be blanks, but this is how the articles shake it out:

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The best in Samsung prepaid phones

The year 2007 was a milestone for Samsung. Long a small player in the mobile phone industry, they surpassed Motorola to become the world’s No. 2 handset maker. This was on the strength of their growing almost four times faster than the market as a whole. They’re still a long shot from No. 1 Nokia — In fact Nokia shipped more handsets in the fourth quarter than Samsung, Motorola, and Sony Ericsson combined. So Samsung should enjoy its spot at No. 2. And to celebrate Samsung’s rise to prominence, we’re going to go through our prepaid phone providers to see which Samsung models they offer.

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ZTE C88 handset debuts on MetroPCS

I was just talking about ZTE yesterday on Going Cellular, in relation to their dealings with Sprint and WiMax handsets. But for now, we’ll have to settle for the initial model from the Chinese phone maker, the C88, which has debuted with MetroPCS. The company is looking to make a big splash in the US, even saying that they think they can top handset makers LG, Samsung, and Motorola.

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The best in prepaid camera phones

As we know, it’s tough to find a cheap prepaid phone. But while prepaid phones might not be cheap, you can usually find full-feature models. And that’s what we all want, right? Yes, some providers have crappy selections of refurbished, out-of-date phones, but others have large selections of the phones you want. So we’re going through all of our pay-as-you-go phones to see which ones bring you cameras.

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The end nearing for Motorola’s cell phones?

Here’s something I never thought I’d be reporting: Rumors are making their way around the Web that Motorola, now the world’s No. 3 handset maker, is considering dropping out of the cell phone business completely. This would allow them to focus efforts on government projects and big business ventures. Once again, this is just a rumor. It could just be some drummed-up speculation based on the company’s 2007 results, or it could be a leak from internal conversations. In any event, it’s tough to imagine a wireless world without Motorola.

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Sanyo sells handset unit to Kyocera

Way back in October, it was revealed that Sanyo would be exiting the mobile phone business. The speculation was that they’d sell their mobile division to Kyocera, whose handsets you see frequently in the prepaid domain. That sale is said to be taking place now, to the tune of $375 million, though it will go through as 40 billion yen — 50 billion yen if you count the debt that is changing hands.

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An incredibly practical use for your camera phone

I can’t go to a mall, movie theater, or any other teenage hangout without seeing a slew of kids snapping photos of each other with their cell phones. When camera phones were first introduced, I was already too old to be among that crowd, so they’ve always seemed pointless. Reading a story last week about a trio of hikers being rescued because of their camera pone opened my eyes a bit to the true uses of a camera phone. So I was pretty suggestible when I read this Lifehacker piece about using your camera phone to find your parked car.

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Huawei becomes second Chinese handset maker for MetroPCS

Earlier this month, MetroPCS announced a partnership with ZTE USA, subsidiary of phone and network vendor ZTE Corp. of China, to provide them with handsets. Metro has taken yet another leap into the Chinese handset market, signing a deal with Huawei Technologies to make their M318 handset available to the roughly 3.7 million customers of the flat-rate, unlimited carrier. So while rival Leap is busy expanding its network, Metro is working on bring a whole new line of phones to its arsenal.

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Samsung r500 available on Cricket on Christmas Eve

If you have a friend who just happens to use Cricket and haven’t gotten him or her a Christmas present yet, you might be in luck. For some unbeknownst reason, the carrier will introduce a new phone, the Samsung r500, on Christmas Eve. We’re no marketing experts, but it seems strange to release a product a day before your store will be closed. It also seems strange to release one when most people will have their holiday shopping done. Well, maybe not.

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Yakety Yak named in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500

Never heard of Yakety Yak? Neither did we, until this morning, when we saw that they ranked 470 of 500 in Entpreneur’s Franchise 500. Just as the BlackBerry Store compiles devices from all different service providers, so does Yakety Yak. You can find deals from Sprint, T-Mobile, Helio, Verizon, Alltel, Cricket, Boost, and more. It’s a novel idea, and could save consumers valuable time that they would otherwise spend driving between stores to compare these phones. But with Yakety Yak, it’s all right in front of you.

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Cricket introduces Motorola ROKR Z6m

We love Cricket’s flat-rate, unlimited calling and texting plans. We love rock ‘n’ roll. So it stands to reason that we’d love Cricket’s newest offering, the Motorola ROKR, a slider phone that plays your favorite tunes. We’ve seen a ton of these released through the major carriers, but very few of them exist on regional carriers like Cricket and MetroPCS.

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The Sidekick holiday gift


We’re in the midst of the holiday season, which means that conversations have turned from “events” to “stuff.” As in, stuff kids want from their parents (or Santa, or whatever). Over the past few years, cell phones have made their ways onto Christmas and Hanukkah lists. While before they were merely devices to talk and text with, they’re turning into multipurpose devices. And as we see the increase in functionality, we see an increase in demand for these fancier phones. Atop this years list are phones like Verizon’s LG Voyager and AT&T’s Apple iPhone, but those aren’t the only shiny objects that kids are clamoring for. Don’t forget T-Mobile and their Sidekick series.

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MetroPCS unveils Samsung R410

What good is unlimited messaging if you don’t have a full QWERTY keyboard? Such was the issue for MetroPCS. It’s a great idea for service, but eventually you’re going to need the hardware in order to compete. So they’ve introduced the Samsung R410, a slider that features the full keyboard that kids nowadays are craving.

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Motorola RAZR the top-selling phone of Q3

One might think that the iPhone, with its price drop, would be the best-selling phone of the third quarter, but a couple of things held it back. First, the phone was released on June 29, so the first two days of sales were in the second quarter. Second, the price drop came in September, leaving less than a month to the end of the quarter. So, instead of the most vaunted phone on the market, the timeless Motorola RAZR is the top-seller. And we’re not talking the RAZR2. No, we’re talking about ol’ reliable: the V3. Actually the V3m, the CDMA V3, ranked No. 2 overall, solidifying Motorola’s stranglehold on the list.

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Hop-On offers GSM phone with GPS

We’ll be honest: We’ve never heard of Hop-On phones before. So our initial reaction to reading a press release regarding the availability of a new phone of theirs caught our interest. Apparently, they once made the world’s first disposable cell phone. Sounds like it would work well for people traveling to the U.S.. Now they’re offering a GSM 1883 model, which comes with GPS. Their pitch is that they are cost-effective. We’ll see about that.

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T-Mobile Shadow gets thumbs up

Usually when a new phone comes out, our initial thought is to give you the facts. Features, size, all that stuff you supposedly care about. But you know what? It seems like most phones coming out today have similar features. And because many carriers are installing universal software on their phones, the interface isn’t much different from $40 phone to $250 phone. This time, we found an actual user review, and we’d like to share it. It’s for the T-Mobile Shadow, the first in T-Mobile’s “line of consumer-friendly fancyphones.” And by fancyphone, they mean a less complicated smartphone.

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kajeet adds three more handsets

Just we’re getting ready for the holiday season, kajeet is readying two new handsets for those kids who want a phone from their parents. In addition to their current selection, they’ve now made available the LG LX150, the Sanyo Katana II and the Samsung m300. Both handsets will be available at kajeet.com and at participating retail outlets, such as Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, Long Drugs, and Limited Too.

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Virgin launches steaming music phone

Well, these Virgin Mobile phones just keep getting better. Just last month they announced the Super Slice, and now they’re launching the Wild Card, their first phone with the capability to stream music. While it’s a neat idea, there are several financial drawbacks to the service.

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Alltel launches MOTORKR Z26m

We used to love it when new phones were released. Believe it or not, there was a time when a new phone, you know, differentiated itself from its competitors. Like when the RAZR came out. Man, there was so much hype behind that, and it really wasn’t matched until the iPhone. Anyway, Alltel is releasing the MOTORKR Z26m, a phone that looks a lot like other phones on the market. Yes, it’s a slider, which is a nice break from flip phones. The only difference, as we see it, is enhanced music capabilities, including built-in XM Radio.

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Sprint releases cheap, full-feature phone

We never thought we’d see the day: A phone with a full keyboard and decent-sized screen for under $100. But LG has developed one, and Sprint has picked it up. It’s the Rumor by LG, and we think it’s going to sell like hotcakes. It’s basically the Sidekick Lite…only a whole boatload cheaper. And if there’s one thing we like in the telecom industry, it’s cheap phones. Yeah, it’ll cost you a two-year contract, but what won’t these days?

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