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Prepaid Phones

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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Make calls and monitor your health

A new prototype was introduced in Japan over the weekend that could revolutionize the way you keep track of your health. Ah, who are you kidding? You don’t keep track of your healthy as it is. But, with this new phone, it’s so easy that you’d be a fool not to keep track. We’re actually amazed with all of the health-related features in this phone, and will be even more amazed if it actually comes out. But if it does, we’ll have it the next day.

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Samsung m300 now available on kajeet

We like people who deliver on promises. So after we talked to kajeet CEO Daniel Neal, we were hoping he’s follow through on his promise of new phones. Today, we saw it delivered. The Samsung m300 is now available on kajeet.

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AT&T’s new phone only $550 on prepaid

The cell phone industry is abuzz this morning with AT&T’s new offering. Normally, we’d hold off on news like this, since it’s one of those heavily subsidized phones — to the tune of $150 for a two-year service agreement. However, we’d be remiss to neglect this device. It’s the Tilt, and people are starting to really talk about it, despite the price. We’ll share some specs after the jump.

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Kyocera Lingo goes live on Cricket

You know what would be a novel idea? Launching a QWERTY phone on a service that offers unlimited text messaging. After all, you’re paying to send as many texts as you desire, so you might as well be able to bang them out in efficient fashion. Finally, Cricket has heard that call, and they’ve answered with the Kyocera Lingo. It looks like a normal candybar phone at first, but you can flip it open, like a book, revealing a full keyboard and wide-screen display. Neat-o.

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T-Mobile offers new music phone

In a moment of candor, we’ll admit that we don’t see the point in music phones. Yes, it means you can carry around one less device, but from what we’ve experienced of this type of phone, our iPod, or Zune, or whatever we have is far superior. Though we expect it should be. But to each his own; people seem to like these phone/walkman hybrids, so it makes sense that they keep rolling out. The latest for T-Mobile is the Samsung Beat (we got the beat…..YEAH).

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Boost Unlimited adds another handset

In a sign that Boost Unlimited will be, in fact, expanding, they’ve launched a new handset for the plan: the Motorola W385. To us, it looks like a glorified RAZR. But Boost sees it differently: “The Motorola W385 is Boost Mobile’s most feature-rich phone ever with Bluetooth®, GPS, 4x Digital Zoom VGA Camera, Text and Multi-Media Messaging, Wireless Web, access to AOL®, Yahoo!® and MSN® Instant Messaging, Hands-free Speakerphone with Voice-Activated Dialing and Voice Recorder, and Customizable Photo Caller ID.” Once again, sounds like a garden-variety phone to us.

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Cricket, UTStarcom release mini phone

So the new StarCom CDM8935 comes with all the standard features of modern phones: VGA camera, speakerphone, Bluetooth, data-capable, and all that jazz. So what makes this phone stand out from its modern phone brethren? it’s teensy weensy. The dimensions: 3.3 inches high, 1.7 inches wide, and 0.7 inches deep. Wowsa! And it’s less than three ounces, so you can barely feel it in your front pocket. It’s a flip, too, so you’ll still get a decent-sized display.

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Motorola to cut mobile phone R&D

Motorola, now officially the third largest handset manufacturer thanks to Samsung, has announced that they will slash their spending on research and development by 15% this year. Yet somehow they are going to “be careful not to impede the development of new mobile phone models as it looks to cut costs.” Well, Moto guys, if you could have done that, why was’t it done earlier? If you can cut costs and maintain production, well, that’s a no-brainer. Needless to say, we’re not buying the line from Motorola. People are raving about the RAZR2 and the new Rizr, but we see nothing special about them. Looks like things aren’t looking so hot for Motorola.

[Wireless Week]

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Touchscreen? Bah. The real future of keypads

Of course, nothing in the future is guaranteed. But after taking a look at this concept phone, we’ve come away impressed. Actually, it’s not about the phone itself. Rather, it’s about the keypad attached to the phone. Instead of the traditional mechanical keyboard, this phone has a series of mountains and valleys that allow a user to easily navigate the 12 main buttons, as well as the send, end, and menu options.

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Cricket now offering Samsung u340

Anyone who regularly reads this site knows that we’re pretty big fans of MetroPCS and Cricket, two regional providers who offer flat-rate, unlimited calling on a prepaid basis. Heck, we already wrote about them earlier today. So when Cricket announces that it’s offering a new phone, you’d think we would be praising them to the heavens. This time, though, we just can’t get excited about the offering. It’s the Samsung u340, and it’s not all that different from the other phones available through Cricket.

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Five carriers, five different RAZR2s

We’ll admit that we’re pretty psyched about the Motorola RAZR2. Motorola is set to regress to the No. 3 handset maker in the world (thanks to Samsung), so we just know they put everything into this, their flagship phone, to bring them back into a solid No. 2. Thankfully for us, Sascha Segan of PC Magazine has the scoop on the phone — or should we say five phones, since the models seem to vary from carrier to carrier.

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