T-Mobile may be done with the idea of carrier subsidies, but AT&T is ready to just pile them on. In the category of 7" tablets, Lenovo's A2107 is not too bad of a deal. Some specs don't quite match up to the N7; for example the screen is a little lower resolution, it only runs Android 4.0, and the processor is a little less powerful. However, where those aspects lack, this slate makes up for it with front and rear cameras and a 3G radio at a lower introductory price point. AT&T today has announced it now plans on carrying this unit in its stores, offering the device for $200 off contract.
One of the biggest frustrations of dealing with Verizon, if you're someone who likes to tweak their phone, is that the carrier insists on locking the bootloaders on its phones that otherwise would not be locked. Samsung has offered Developer Editions of its phones in the past, including the Galaxy S III, largely to avoid that problem and appease the dev crowd. Today, that tradition continues with the Galaxy Note II which has now appeared on the company's site in a similar hacker-friendly model.
Samsung hasn't announced pricing or availability for this model just yet, but if previous patterns hold, you can expect this to take a bit of a toll on your wallet, as it's going to be sold off-contract and unsubsidized.
When we think of "budget" phones, a $500 Galaxy S III may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, MetroPCS' usual strategy of having customers buy phones off contract and save money on the service is in full swing here. The device comes with a hefty price tag up front, but pick up the carrier's $50/month plan for unlimited talk, text, and 2.5GB of data, and you're looking at around $1700 over the course of 2 years. Compare that to, say an $80/month plan with a $200 device ($2120 over two years) and you could face some steep savings.
The Galaxy Camera, which Samsung initially unveiled in Berlin back in August, is now confirmed to be on its way to AT&T. Unfortunately, the carrier hasn't offered up any details on when it will arrive or how much it will cost. The camera is no slouch, with a 4.7" 308ppi display, a quad-core processor, 4G connectivity, and, of course, a giant camera. That kind of hardware doesn't come cheap.
There's also the issue of data plan connectivity. Presumably, you could buy this without a plan and just use it on WiFi, but then what's the point of those fancy 4 gees?
It's not often we find ourselves excited about prepaid here in the US, but if any store can get people excited about saving money, it's Walmart. And what Walmart and T-Mobile just announced is actually pretty exciting if you're looking for a way to get on the smartphone bandwagon with low monthly overhead.
For $300, Walmart will sell you a contract-free T-Mobile Galaxy S II. That in and of itself probably isn't very exciting. The Galaxy S II is definitely getting long in the tooth, but it's also not a bad phone by any stretch of the imagination. The really exciting part is that once you buy it, for $30 a month you can get a prepaid T-Mobile plan that gives you 5GB of 4G data, unlimited texting, and 100 minutes of voice (come on, who uses minutes?).
Sprint has finally announced what we'd heard almost a month ago. The Kyocera Rise, the budget smartphone best known for making my movie references easy, is heading to the Now Network on August 19th. The device will cost $19.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate. So if you want the internal specs of the original Evo in a QWERTY slider from the company that you probably didn't know also makes cutlery, it will run you $70 out the door.
Alternatively, if you'd like to get it without a contract, it will be available from Virgin Mobile beginning August 31st for $99.99.
Today, MetroPCS announced yet another addition to its stable of prepaid Android smartphones. One of the pricier off-contract handsets, the device retails for $459. So, what do you get for a significant portion of your rent for the month? Well, for a Metro PCS phone, it's actually a pretty decent spec list:
- 4.3" Super AMOLED display
- 1Ghz processor
- 8MP rear-facing camera w/ flash
- 1.3MP front-facing camera
- 32GB of "external memory"*
*Note: It's a little unclear what they mean by "32GB of external memory." The device's spec page also lists a 16GB memory card, so it may be that the device has an SD card slot that supports up to 32GB, but only includes a 16GB card.
Not every smartphone is designed to blow us away. Every once in a while, we get a little reminder that the low-end handset line needs some love to. On that note, T-Mobile let us know today that it will be launching the T-Mobile Prism, a 3.5" device running Android 2.3. The phone will retail for $20 after a $50 mail-in rebate card with a 2-year contract, or a near-impulse-buy price of $150 with no contract. Dang.
The Huawei-manufactured device is expected to hit Best Buy shelves first, starting May 6th, following by Walmart on May 9th, finally hitting T-Mobile stores on May 23rd.
OK, so it might not be the Galaxy Nexus, but HTC's Wildfire S for Virgin Mobile is a fairly decent smartphone (the carrier's second best option), and it is available off-contract for a fraction of the price of a more high-end handset. Under regular circumstances, the device comes in at just $199.99 without any sort of contract, but from now until Saturday (November 26th), it's half off - $99.99.
Again, that's less than a Benjamin for a fully off-contract Wildfire S, complete with:
- Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
- WiFi/3G radios
- A 3.2-inch touch screen
- A microSD card slot
- A 5.0MP camera
- A battery good for 4 hours of talk time/12.5 days of standby
Admittedly, those specs don't quite make for a flagship handset, but then again, it costs under a seventh of the off-contract price of, say, the Galaxy Nexus.
Those (im)patiently awaiting the upcoming launch of the DROID 3 now have even more info on what to expect: thanks to Droid Life, we now know what the phone's pricing will look like, both on- and off-contract.
If you're cool with signing a new two-year agreement, you'll be paying the now-standard price of $199. Alternatively, if the shackles of a contract are enough to scare you away, you could purchase the phone off-contract for the fairly reasonable price of $459 (I say "fairly reasonable" since other carriers, such as Sprint, happily charge over $600 for an contract-free phone).
Droid Life says that "direct fill orders" (though we haven't a clue what that means) will begin tonight around midnight EST, and if the latest round of rumors is to be believed, you'll be able to pick up a DROID 3 starting July 14th.