Smartphone Buyer's Guide: What are the choices on my carrier?

Smartphone Buyer's Guide: What are the choices on my carrier?

Summary: I recently posted the 2009 Holiday Guide for smartphones and in that guide posted about just one smartphone from each carrier. There are more selections than just one though and now that most all of the announcements for the holidays have been made I thought you might like to know what the choices from each carrier are, along with the subsidized and non-subsidized prices so you can make an informed choice. Most people find a carrier that works for them with the best coverage in their local area so they look first to their carrier for a smartphone rather than looking for the a smartphone and then switching carriers.

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I recently posted the 2009 Holiday Guide for smartphones and in that guide posted about just one smartphone from each carrier. I also posted my Holiday Guide for feature phones and included the two I thought are best on each carrier. There are more smartphone selections than just one and now that most all of the announcements for the holidays have been made I thought you might like to know what the choices from each carrier are, along with the subsidized and non-subsidized prices so you can make an informed choice. Most people find a carrier that works for them with the best coverage in their local area so they look first to their carrier for a smartphone rather than looking for the a smartphone and then switching carriers. You will find the smartphone choices from the four largest nationwide carriers, but keep in mind there are also some rather large localized carriers in the Northeast and Southern regions with excellent smartphone choices.

The prices you will see in this article are from the carrier. If you are new to a carrier or adding another line you will find excellent prices on Amazon.com and other online vendors.

Verizon Wireless

Verizon has had a rather weak lineup of smartphones for most of 2009 with their primary focus on high end BlackBerry models. They recently added some very good Windows Mobile and Google Android devices to their offerings so Verizon Wireless customers have some of the best choices this holiday season. You will find smartphones with keyboards and those focused on touch only so something should appeal to you that allows you to stay with Verizon Wireless, or even join them to obtain one of their new Google Android devices.

Verizon does have the most expensive data and voice plans, but they also have the most coverage of any wireless carrier. The HTC Touch Pro2 has been sold out for much of the last month so may be difficult to find. The HTC DROID ERIS and Motorola DROID are the hottest devices at the moment and you will see commercials for both on television and in print advertising. If you travel internationally, make sure to look for a phone that is GSM-capable too.

RIM BlackBerry

  • BlackBerry Curve 8330 - Front facing QWERTY, 2.0 megapixel camera: $429.99 (no contract) and $49.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Tour - Front facing QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $489.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Storm2 - Large touchscreen, WiFi, 3.2 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $539.99 (no contract) and $179.99 (2-year contract)

Windows Mobile

  • Samsung Omnia - Large touchscreen, Samsung TouchWIZ interface, 5 megapixel camera: $459.99 (no contract) and FREE (2-year contract)
  • HTC Ozone - Front facing QWERTY, non-touchscreen, 2 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $349.99 (no contract) and $49.99 (2-year contract)
  • Samsung Saga - Front facing QWERTY, touchscreen, 2 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $449.99 (no contract) and $99.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Touch Pro2 - Large touchscreen, slider QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $489.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Imagio - Windows Mobile 6.5, large touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera, GSM world phone: $579.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)

Google Android

  • HTC DROID ERIS - Touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera, HTC Sense UI and widgets:: $469.99 (no contract) and $99.99 (2-year contract)
  • Motorola DROID - Android 2.0, 5 megapixel camera, large touchscreen, slider QWERTY: $559.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)

Apple iPhone Verizon has no iPhone devices.

Symbian Verizon has no Symbian smartphone offerings.

Palm WebOS Verizon has no Palm WebOS devices.

A couple of things to keep in mind as you look at these Verizon smartphones is to check for WiFi and GSM support if you are a business traveler who needs these wireless technologies to do your job.

Let's see what AT&T has available »

AT&T

The largest GSM carrier in the US is AT&T and the Apple iPhone has definitely been the dominant smartphone for them over these last couple of years. Apple changed the face of the smartphone with the original iPhone and has updated the offerings twice with the iPhone 3GS the current device available on AT&T. I was with AT&T for a couple of years and found their data plan to be decent, but their voice network let me down way too often so I had to drop them and stick with T-Mobile.

RIM BlackBerry

  • BlackBerry Curve 8320 - Front facing QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $399.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Bold - Front facing QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $449.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Curve 8900 - Front facing QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $349.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)

Windows Mobile

  • Samsung Jack - Front facing QWERTY, non-touchscreen display, 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $329.99 (no contract) and $79.99 (2-year contract)
  • Samsung Propel Pro - Slide-up front facing QWERTY, touchscreen display, 3 megapixel camera, WiFi: $279.99 (no contract) and $79.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Pure - Windows Mobile 6.5, touchscreen display, 5 megapixel camera, WiFi: $349.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Tilt2 - Windows Mobile 6.5, touchscreen display, slide out QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $499.99 (no contract) and $299.99 (2-year contract)

Google Android AT&T has no Google Android device.

Apple iPhone

  • Apple iPhone 3G (8GB) - Capacitive touchscreen UI, 2 megapixel camera, No MMS support: $99 (2-year contract)
  • Apple iPhone 3GS - Capacitive touchscreen UI, 3.2 megapixel camera: $599.99 (16GB)/$699.99 (32GB) with no contact and $199.99 (16GB)/$299.99 (32GB) for 2-year contract price

Symbian

  • Nokia E71x - Front facing QWERTY, WiFi, 3.2 megapixel camera, GPS: $249.99 (no contract) and $49.99 (2-year contact)
  • Nokia Surge - Slider QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, GPS: $229.99 (no contract) and $29.99 (2-year contract)

Palm WebOS AT&T has no Palm WebOS device.

Sprint's unlimited plans rock, how are their smartphones? »

Sprint

As you can see below Sprint has some wonderful smartphone offerings and was the leader in the various operating systems until some of the newest devices were announced running Windows Mobile and Google Android. Sprint has the most affordable unlimited plans and their data plans include features that normally have extra fees with Verizon and AT&T, such as voice guided navigation, wireless television, and sports services. I would be all over a Sprint HTC Hero if I had better Sprint coverage, but not every carrier can give all of us full coverage and this just isn't the carrier for my area.

RIM BlackBerry

  • BlackBerry Curve 8330 - Front facing QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, no WiFi:$569.99 (no contract) and $49.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Curve 8350 - Front facing QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $479.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Tour 9630 - Front facing QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, no WiFi, GSM world phone: $499.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)

Windows Mobile

  • HTC Snap - Front facing QWERTY, non-touchscreen display, 2 megapixel camera: $399.99 (no contract) and $99.99 (2-year contract)
  • Palm Treo Pro - Front facing QWERTY, touchscreen display, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $549.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • Samsung Intrepid - Windows Mobile 6.5, front facing QWERTY, touchscreen display, 3 megapixel camera, WiFi, GSM world phone: $449.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Touch Diamond - Touchscreen display, 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $549.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)
  • HTC Touch Pro2 - Touchscreen display, slide out QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera, WiFi, GSM world phone: $599.99 (no contract) and $349.99 (2-year contract)

Google Android

  • HTC Hero - Capacitive touchscreen, 5 megapixel camera, HTC Sense UI, WiFi: $479.99 (no contract) and $179.99 (2-year contract)
  • Samsung Moment - Capacitive touchscreen, slide out QWERTY, 3 megapixel camera, WiFi: $479.99 (no contract) and $179.99 (2-year contract)

Apple iPhone Sprint has no iPhone device.

Symbian Sprint has no Symbian device.

Palm WebOS

  • Palm Pre _ Capacitive touchscreen, slide up QWERTY keyboard, 3 megapixel camera, WiFi, Palm Synergy: $549.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)

T-Mobile is the smallest carrier, but has a decent smartphone collection »

T-Mobile

T-Mobile is the smallest of the four major carriers and they just started rolling out their 3G data network over the last few months. They operate their 3G network on a frequency different than AT&T (1700 MHz) so devices are not cross compatible for high speed data. T-Mobile launched the first US-based Google Android device last year with the T-Mobile G1 and has focused on BlackBerry and Google Android smartphone offerings with some Windows Mobile updates just recently being released.

T-Mobile also has their UMA/Hotspot @Home service available that lets you make and receive calls via your home WiFi network to ensure you have a good solid signal in your house with unlimited calling support. T-Mobile also just rolled out their European-style plans where you can sign up for month-to-month service with no carrier contracts.

RIM BlackBerry

  • BlackBerry Pearl 8120 - SureType QWERTY, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $299.99 (no contract) and $79.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Curve 8520 - Front facing QWERTY, WiFi, 2 megapixel camera: $349.99 (no contract) and $129.99 (2-year contract)
  • BlackBerry Curve 8900 - Front facing QWERTY, WiFi, 3.2 megapixel camera: $399.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)

Windows Mobile

  • T-Mobile Shadow - Slide up QWERTY, non-touchscreen, 2 megapixel camera, WiFi: $249.99 (no contract) and $29.99 (2-year contract)
  • T-Mobile Dash 3G - Front facing QWERTY, non-touchscreen, 2 megapixel camera, 3G support, WiFi: $339.99 (no contract) and $169.99 (2-year contract)
  • T-Mobile HTC Touch Pro2 - Large touchscreen display, slide up QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G support, WiFi: $539.99 (no contract) and $349.99 (2-year contract)

Google Android

  • T-Mobile G1 - Capacitive touchscreen, slide out QWERTY, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G, WiFi: $399.99 (no contract) and $129.99 (2-year contract)
  • T-Mobile myTouch 3G - Capacitive touchscreen, 3.2 megapixel camera, 3G, WiFi: $399.99 (no contract) and $149.99 (2-year contract)
  • Motorola CLIQ - Capacitive touchscreen, slide out QWERTY, 5 megapixel camera, MOTOBLUR integrations, 3G, WiFi: $399.99 (no contract) and $199.99 (2-year contract)

Apple iPhone T-Mobile has no iPhone device.

Symbian T-Mobile has no Symbian smartphone.

Palm WebOS T-Mobile has no Palm WebOS device.

Go back to the beginning »

Topics: HTC, Android, Wi-Fi, Smartphones, BlackBerry, Networking, Mobility, Mobile OS, iPhone, Hardware, Google, Windows

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7 comments
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  • Page 2

    I cannot get to Page 2 of the November 9th article. Clicking on the "Let's see what AT&T has" link leads to Page 2 of the November 1st article.
    MaryTN
    • Correction - The 1,2,3,4 work

      The blue links with the next carrier to be reveiwed do not work, but the Page 1 2 3 4 does.
      MaryTN
      • Thanks, working now

        Thanks, I forgot to update those link page identifiers and then the site was down for a bit so I was locked out from updating the post. It should all be good to go now.
        palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: Smartphone Buyer's Guide: What are the choices on my carrier?

    Thanks. Very useful guide.

    Now, how about a list of which carriers have had breaches of security, too much down time, or have broken their user agreements by illegally revealing data.
    vbnomad
  • RE: Smartphone Buyer's Guide: What are the choices on my carrier?

    I think I want Verizon's HTC Imagio. But the reviews are not good. I need Windows 6.5 plus I want to tether it to my desktop computer because I live in an area where dial-up or satelite is all there is. Is there still another HTC coming for Verizon?
    air10
  • Wi-Fi Calling

    Do all of the Blackberrys have wi-fi calling or is it just available on T-mobile?
    fondy
  • RE: Smartphone Buyer's Guide: What are the choices on my carrier?

    I love my HTC phone and am a log time AT&T customer. I hope they get on the Android bandwagon very quickly. I long for the day when handsets are not branded and you can use the phone you like with the carrier you like. That said, AT&T may be large but reception at my home is very poor.
    SacRiver