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 Motorola Hintfacilitate 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.

More FirstNews 04/17/09:
•  Sony Ericsson Posts Another Loss
•  Carriers Expand Handset Portfolios
•  Google's Search for Savings Boosts 1Q Profit
•  Verizon Releases Developer Specs for LTE
•  Verizon Files Suit Over Fiber Outage
•  Motorola Accuses ex-CFO of Destroying Evidence
•  Millennial Launches Mobile Ad Scorecard
•  Greystripe CEO Predicts Shift to Full-Screen Ads
•  3G Americas: All Roads Lead to LTE
•  FirstNews Briefs for April 17, 2009