Thursday, August 28, 2008

Pocket Offers Refurb Razr for Cheap

Looks like Pocket Communications has a few Razrs lying around. They're selling refurbished v3c's for $119 on their website. Granted, they're older phones, don't have an mp3 player built in and are a bit larger than, say, the v3m or the v3a in terms of thickness. But the camera is 1.3 megapixels, EvDO data is available and the price isn't bad at all.

CricKet Intros Video Service for $5

According to a quick article by WirelessWeek it looks like you can now view videos on your CricKet phone. A preselected bunch of music videos and short clips, that is. It's not mobile TV like Sprint has on their contract offerings, but it's something. The downside? $5 a month is the cost. It might be a nice value-add for some people, and certainly adds to CricKet's bottom line, but I like my phone company to serve as a communication tool, not provide random videos to me for a monthly charge. Seriously, who wants to spend $5 per month to get a limited library of video clips delivered to their phone's two-or-less-inch screen? On the bright side, these videos are exempted from the $5-per-month CricKet data charge.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Nokia on CricKet\MetroPCS AWS? Maybe...

According to PhoneScoop there's a new phone from Nokia. Not only is it CDMA (something they haven't been doing so much of lately) but it's also AWS-compatible. The Nokia 1606, which seems dstined for CricKet and MetroPCS, isn't a terribly advanced phone; no camera, no Blueooth, no color external screen. However, it's built well, k=looks nice and has the Nokia logo on it, so it should sell well. Pricing will probably be in line with, or slightly below, the other entry-level AWS handsets on each carrier.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Mean Lean Green Messaging Machine

Looks like CricKet is getting more variety than MetroPCS phone-wise; they just introduced the Samsung Messager phone in green, in addition to the already-available blue version. The phone is $200, $180 online. Of course, at this point the Kyocera Lingo (M1000) is getting phased out and as such is very inexpensive; after a $100 rebate and with an online purchase the phone is a mere $60. Not bad for a messaging phone on a non-contract unlimited carrier network, though unfortunately you get what you pay for with Kyocrapas.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

MetroPCS Updates and Giveaways

In the meanwhile, metroPCS is cooking up a thing or two...

First, they're giving away a $25 Shell gas card to anyone who buys a Samsung phone (including the MyShot and the new Messager) between the first and the 30th of this month. Or you might be one of the 48 people who gets a $2000 gas card ("one year's worth of gas") instead of a mere $25. Or, if you're really lucky, MetroPCS might give you a 2009 Toyota Yaris (but no gas; they figure it's fuel-efficient enough that you'll be happy with just the car). There's only one of the last price, but it sure is a nice prize.

Second, lately I've been putting in the zipcode of a normally-1900 MHz market and getting only 1700-MHz capable phones (34947...I have relatives there). This means one of two things: either MetroPCS is actively advancing their agenda of making all markets of theirs 1700-MHz capable on both a phone and service level in the near term (a good idea so all phones will have coverage network-wide), or they're running out of 1900 capacity in the market and have 1700 up to bleed off the overcapacity with these new phones. I'd tend to think it's the first of these two options; customers get confused when they see MetroPCS coverage on a map yet, after roaming not too far from home, find that their new non-AWS-capable phone won't work in the place they're going without charging a pretty penny for the service.

Third, on plans of $35 or more, calls to Puerto Rico are unlimited. Cool, though this doesn't apply to a ton of people.

Fourth, Loopt (the social network of sorts that's built around "where you at", first seen on Boost Mobile) is now available on MetroPCS. The coolest thing is that it's included on the $50 plan. Otherwise, it adds $4 to the $40 or $45 plans (hint: get the $50 plan if you want the $45 plan and Loopt). So you can now go Loopt-y with your friends on Sprint, Nextel, Boost Mobile and...with certain phones...Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. The "select phones" requirement also applies on MetroPCS; as of yet, only the Motorola Razr v3a and v3s, the Rokr z6m, the Samsung u520 and the r430 (MyShot) are compatible. Nothing yet about the Messager.

CricKet Has the Messenger, Too

Looks like CricKet has once again mirrored MetroPCS's 1700 MHz lineup when it comes to Samsung phones: the Messager r430 has showed up on their website in a blue hue (my monitor and colorblindness won't allow me to pass judgment on the dark hue of the MetroPCS Messager). The price? $200 minus a $20 discount if bought online. Plus, I'm pretty sure, that pesky $15 activation fee.

Friday, August 8, 2008

MetroPCS Intros Messager, CricKet Expands v3s Availability

Looks like MetroPCS has intro'd a messaging conscious phone for their new 1700MHz network. The aptly named Samsung Messager looks reminiscent of the Kyocera M1000 "Lingo"\"Wild Card" but offers a LOT more feature-wise at a similar price ($200).

The keyboard slides out (I prefer slide-out to clamshell-style, plus it's cheaper to have one screen than two, leaving more money for the manufacturer to put other features in) and the phone itsself is packed with features. 1.3 megapixel camera? Check. MP3 player with stereo Bluetooth and a MicroSD card slot? Check. All your other communication features (SMS, MMS, IM, e-mail)? Check.

It's a pity this phone isn't on more carries than just MetroPCS; it's like the LG Rumor, but higher-end and made by Samsung, which in my opinion makes slightly better phones than the company whose acronym stands for "Lucky Goldstar" (how's that for seedy-sounding Asian merchandise?)

On the CricKet front, the Motorola Razr v3s is now available everywhere, at $180-$200 depending on where "everywhere" happens to be ($180 appears to be web-only). Again, the v3s is merely a "Razr Lite" v3a (basically the CDMA analog to the original Cingular Razr) with the addition of AWS-band cellular service capability (for use in newer CricKet markets) and with a different finish (spun-metal versus matte). This is a nice bit of news to be sure, but MetroPCS has had the v3s available for longer than CricKet has, and currently CricKet's AWS-capable handsst lineup trails MetroPCS's by a good bit. The funny thing is that, up until the introduction of service into Las Vegas, this wouldn't have mattered to either company as each serves different areas. But now, with overlapping wireless footprints, the heat is on.