With Halloween behind us, T-Mobile officials are ready to talk holiday shopping. Beginning Nov. 3, they will offer four Android-running smartphones that'll let consumers extend season's greetings without "busting their holiday budgets."
All four phones-the T-Mobile Comet, the LG Optimus T, the Motorola Defy and the Motorola Charm-will be priced at less than $100 with a new two-year contract.
In addition, T-Mobile plans to extend new data pricing plans, though the start date for these is less clear. This holiday season, at any rate, customers can purchase a 200MB plan for $10 a month with a new two-year service agreement or contract extension, or for $15 without the extension. Alternately, with a new or existing voice and text message plan, customers can get an unlimited data plan for $30.
Choose the unlimited option, and you'll be eligible for a new Tethering and WiFi Sharing service-which lets users turn certain smartphones into mobile hotspots for devices such as laptops and tablets-for an additional $14.99 per month. (T-Mobile will soon also be offering the Samsung Galaxy Tab, its Android-running answer to the iPad.)
As for the phones, the T-Mobile Comet is the "lowest-priced 3G Android smartphone in the T-Mobile portfolio," per T-Mobile's Nov. 1 announcement, though it has yet to disclose exactly what that price is. What it has shared is that features a 2.8-inch touch display, a 3.2-megapixel camera, a 528MHz processor and comes in a black finish. For those who prefer a prepaid plan, it'll also be available for "less than $200."
The Comet, however, should price in under $30, as the LG Optimus T, a second option, was earlier announced to have a sticker price of $29.99. It features a 3.2-inch capacitive touch screen and runs version 2.2 of Android with Voice Actions for Android. Users can reportedly talk the phone through actions in email, messaging, placing calls and navigating directions.
It will ship with a 2GB memory card, include Google's full suite of services and come in titanium and burgundy finishes.
Option three is the Motorola Defy, for that special butterfingers in your life. Available in linen or black, the phone is dust proof and features a 3.7-inch touch screen that's scratch- and water-resistant. It also has a 5-megapixel camera with flash and video capture, is a Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) device, so can stream, store and share content to HDTVs, game consoles and PCs, and comes with CrystalTalk Plus software for filtering out background noise.
Last but not least is the Motorola Charm, a slim, rounded-edged candybar-style phone with a 2.8-inch QVGA touch display or a four-row QWERTY keypad. There's a 600MHz processor, a 3-megapixel camera and, on its back, a Backtrack pad, which enables users to navigate through the device without blocking and smudging up the display.
Appropriately attired for the holidays, it'll come dressed in gold or "cabernet" finishes.
"We're heading into this holiday season with our strongest and most affordable lineup ever of Android-powered smartphones," Cole Brodman, chief marketing officer of T-Mobile USA, said in a statement. "Combine that with low-cost data service plans and even easier ways to give T-Mobile products as gifts, and we believe families will make the move to smartphones-enriching how they communicate in the new year."
Verizon will also offer a holiday-timed unlimited data plan for $30, as well as a $15, 150MB plan that it hopes will attract first-time smartphone users-who will gradually upgrade to the higher-priced unlimited plan. During Verizon's third-quarter earnings call, CFO John Killian said that while Verizon has a $20 billion annual wireless business, he believes it's still "the early innings of the data explosion."