Now, the phone has been available from VZW's website for just about a week now, but if you have an eye for deals, you'll have steered clear of that venue and instead held out hope that some third-party retailer would be able to offer the device for less than $199.99.
Stay tuned - this is a multi-part "Deal Alert," everyone. First on our list: the HTC Thunderbolt. If you open a new Verizon account (sorry, additional lines and renewals aren't eligible) today, you can pick up an HTC Thunderbolt from Wirefly for just $100. Not shabby. The Thunderbolt was Verizon's debut 4G LTE device, and it has enjoyed substantial popularity since launch. It's also probably the best 4G handset on Verizon presently, though its battery life and lack of a Gingerbread update have put off many owners.
All of Motorola's recent devices (save for the XOOM) have featured bootloaders that are locked down like Fort Knox, and despite publicly stating that they would be reversing that policy, the company has yet to take any action. Although they stated they wouldn't begin making bootloaders unlockable until late 2011, many people held out hope for the newly-released Droid 3. An apparently lost hope, unfortunately, as a Motorola Support forum admin has confirmed that the hot new Droid is as locked as its brethren.
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).
Well, isn't this interesting... it appears that Android Central has gotten a hold of a leaked screen with some pretty promising release dates for some highly anticipated phones, including the Motorola Droid Bionic. Let's push that one of to the side for just a moment though and address the first phone on the list: the Droid 3.
We've basically known everything there is to know about the D3 for a while.
I'm not a big fan of the DROID Charge, but hey, to each his own. And apparently consumers haven't been such huge fans of the phone's notoriously high original MSRP ($300 on upgrade or new agreement), making it the most expensive subsidized Android phone to date.
Well, Wirefly has started playing hardball, and after having dropped the Charge down to $180 a month or so back, they've gone price-slashing yet again: you can now pick up the Samsung DROID Charge for $129.99 on a new Verizon account with a 2-year agreement, or when you add a line to your existing plan (sorry, it's still $200 if you want to upgrade).
It seems the explosive growth of smartphone use has had some unintended consequences: U.S. carriers are moving towards tiered data. While some carriers have had "soft" caps for years, we've recently seen a move towards hard caps. "Tiered" plans have long been standard in other parts of the world, but the simple difference is that US carriers charge significantly more across the board - be it basic plans (just minutes), add-on's (such as texting), or data (whether used on a plan or as-you-go).
Yesterday, a signed Gingerbread RUU was leaked for the HTC Incredible 2 by MobileUnderground member Football. xgunther and I over at the AndIRC Incredible 2 chat repacked it and made it root-friendly.
Right now, you have to be one of the lucky few to be set S-OFF and rooted by AlphaRevX and running ClockworkMod recovery in order to flash the pre-rooted ROM. For those who are not that lucky (yet), enjoy the pictures and videos while we all wait for AlphaRevX to release the full unlock for the Incredible 2.
Update: According to two separate Verizon memos intercepted by Droid-life, existing Verizon customers can keep their existing data plan pricing when renewing or upgrading. Unfortunately, as with all offers of this type, just how long it will last remains to be seen. But, given that the BIONIC is coming some time soon-ish, it seems very likely that existing Verizon customers will be able to get the device without being forced into tiered data.
Most users accustomed to unlimited data cringe upon hearing the words "tiered data plans" - but they aren't always bad. As our own David Ruddock pointed out, they don't affect most users - and they might even be cheaper for non-data hogs (aka 97% of customers).
However, in the case of the new tiered data plans Verizon Wireless is rumored to be implementing early next month, there's not much of an argument - they don't add any value whatsoever for VZW subscribers, and their sole raison d'être seems to be raping subscribers' wallets further still.