Goog411 is going away after November 11

That said, you can get the new Android phone from Samsung (the Fascinate) for $50 + Verizon plan at Amazon (up from $0.01 just a few weeks ago)

Well, when I said early this decade, I didn’t mean now. Last I heard, feature phones were still over 70% of the market (and dumb phones are probably still a few percent as well).

But it’s definitely happening. There are full-fledged Symbian and Maemo/MeeGo smartphones for under $50 without a contract, and if you don’t mind last year’s technology, you can get an HTC Hero (a touch-screen Android phone) for $35. How much longer do you think they can keep making feature phones worth buying for less than that? Or, more importantly (because it’s basically the same companies who own both markets), how much longer do you think they’ll bother?

Alas, Goog411 is going away, but there is an alternative for a simple text-capable cell phone. Text to 466453 and type in the business you’re looking for and in what city. Send. Wait for it… Voila, you now have a text message from Google giving you the results for your search. No smartphone necessary.

BTW, get a phone on a contract, and you’ll pick up a smartphone (Blackberry) for $50/month 2 year contract + tax for the phone…


Why have it prepaid when you can get a family plan (with 2 lines) for $50, and for four for $70? You don’t need a smartphone to text, either. Like others have said, you can use Google text (text 466453 the name of the business and the city/state and you’ll get the address and phone # back. Dunno if it works for people). And with a two year contract w/ Verizon or ATT, you can get many a smartphone for under $20. You’re not going to get a good quality model, but very few phones under $50 are what I’d term “quality”.

IMO, only the elderly, terrorists, and people working class or poor use prepaid phones.

When I travel to other countries, I usually get a prepaid phone, because it’s usually cheaper and more convenient than international roaming. I believe many tourists in America do the same thing.

A friend of mine used a prepaid phone for a month, because he’d just broken his iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 was coming out in a month, and he was worried that if he got a temporary new phone from AT&T he’d have to sign a whole new 2-year contract a month later.

I know multiple people who buy pre-paid phones for their kids. I tried telling one friend that if she added her son to her family plan, she could cap his minutes, but she said, “AT&T doesn’t do that.” Another friend was worried that her daughter would “hack the contract” if she tried that. It’s not worth arguing with them. Another intentionally got her son the worst phone she could to encourage him to save up enough to buy the iPhone he wanted, as a way of teaching him the value of money or something.

Of course it’s possible that I, all my friends, and every tourist I see are all terrorists; you never know…

Lots of people use prepaid phones abroad; the OP and subsequent people wern’t addressing that, so neither did I.

Obviously your friend’s situation was very unique. 99% of people keep their old phones for such emergencies. Nearly everyone in my family has had such situation arise in the almost 10 years we’ve had cell phones.

There are tons of parental controls to be used that make adding a $10 family plan line cheaper than the texts and minutes the average tween uses on a prepaid phone, plus you get a free phone with a new added line. Both major carriers allow you to add a password (or even two passwords, at least on ATT) so that your kid doesn’t hack your contract. So it sounds like your friends are ill informed and out of the mainstream.

Ill-informed, yes. I know that they have better options, but they don’t.

But out of the mainstream, I don’t think so. One of them lives in San Francisco and works in the software industry. Another lives in Berkeley and is dating a hardware engineer at HP/Palm. If the two of them don’t know that they have better options for their kids, it seems pretty hard to believe that there aren’t other people all over the country who also don’t know.

For more evidence: There are prepaid cellphones that go at least as high as $99. Who’s buying those phones? They all have online and credit-card payment options. Who’s using those options? Certainly not elderly people on fixed incomes, poor people with low-paying/irregular jobs, or terrorists who plan to use them once and then throw them away.

Well, I am over fifty years old, so I guess that makes me elderly. And without getting too specific about my family’s finances, I’m close enough to still being “working poor” that getting a contract is out of the question. And I’m too [del]frugal[/del] cheap to be willing to spend money on time-sucks like texting and mobile internet browsing, just so I can say I have them.

I’m not a terrorist, though (even though I do vote Democrat), so no hat trick for me, I guess.

And CanTak3, thank you for the information about Bing411. That’s exactly what I came here to find out!

Wow, one’s in software the other’s dating someone in it and didn’t know? That’s the definition of ill-informed!

Prepaid cell phones are not subsidized as contract handsets are. Case in point: I’m due for a new phone, so I may get a Pantech Link. Free with 2 year contract, $169 as a gophone. People can afford them in the same way people can have cars more expensive than their own homes- they choose what to spend money on, not always wisely (IMO). Those who need prepaid phones would be substantially better off buying them used on ebay than in the store.

The whole point to the prepaid online/credit card payments are that they aren’t a contract, but irregular payments. Those without steady employment can only afford irregular transactions - a bunch of minutes here, a bunch of texts there. Or those who really don’t use phones much (eg, the elderly) it’s also a good option.

50 doesn’t make you old. But you do fall into one of three categories.

ok ok i will get off your lawn sheesh, i just wanted candy