Carriers Expand Handset Portfolios
A number of carriers, both flat-rate prepaid and subscription based, have added more variety to their handset portfolios, specifically focusing on mid-range smartphones that facilitate text messaging.
AT&T recently expanded its line of qwerty smartphones with six new offerings from the likes of Samsung, LG and Nokia. The phones represent a broad cross-section of the smartphone market, from the low-end LG Neon smartphone to Nokia’s high-end smartphone, the E71x.
Apparently other carriers are looking to get on that SMS bandwagon as well. T-Mobile USA today announced the T-Mobile Sidekick LX, featuring 3G functionality. The Sidekick LX, which is available for pre-order starting today via a Web-only pre-sale for existing T-Mobile customers, has a slide-out screen with an underlying full qwerty keyboard.
Cricket, the flat-rate prepaid carrier, yesterday announced the Motorola Hint QA30. The BlackBerry-esque device also features a full qwerty keyboard. The Hint expands on the carrier’s line of “tri-band phones,” which operate in all of Cricket’s coverage areas and eliminates the need for roaming minutes.
Finally, Alltel yesterday launched the Motorola Evoke QA4, featuring a 2.8” full touch-screen, a touch-screen qwerty keyboard and a traditional slide-out keypad.
The new devices come as the line between smart and feature phones becomes increasingly blurred. High-end features like cameras, Qwerty keyboards and mobile Web capabilities are quickly becoming standard as consumers expect high functionality at reasonable prices.