Recommend an affordable smartphone for Verizon?

So, I have decided that my phone isn’t quite what I need in a phone, and that the right direction might be to invest in a Smartphone. Thing is, I don’t know the first thing about them except that the Treos use PalmOS like two of my PDAs have and that the PocketPC ones can run some regular windows applications (?)

So anyhow, I’m setting the cap for what I’m willing to spend at $200 without any kind of contracts (I have no problem with buying a phone off of eBay if it works fine), and it needs to work with Verizon (I have no particular reason to break out of a contract I got into in July). Things I would like to have include a QWERTY keyboard (kinda important, since I text more often than I talk), and Wi-Fi functionality (not too important, more of a gee-whiz! feature I think would be fun if I find myself near a hotspot if I can get it for a reasonable price). I’d rather not give up the cameraphone capabilities my current phone has if possible, since my only other digital camera is a relatively big and obtrusive Canon Rebel XTi.

Honestly, depending on my options, I might just invest in an iPod Touch for the wifi web browsing capability, depending on what extra programs and features I can get for it (some kind of VOIP solution would be handy). Can you link an iPod Touch to a blue-tooth enabled cell phone to do SMS messaging?

So, any ideas? Things I should look out for? Great deals on eBay I should jump on? Blackberry I would have to switch services for since they use their own data service, but I have no idea how that would affect my contract with Verizon, so I’m looking at things like the Treos and PocketPC smartphones first.

My Verizon plain-old-phone abruptly gave up the ghost about 2 weeks ago, and after some quick research I upgraded to a Palm Centro. I’ve been rather busy and haven’t had time to fully explore all of its features (most notably email and web browsing), but so far I’m quite happy with my new toy.

My situation is different from yours - I was upgrading phones within an existing plan. I paid $170 (before a yet-to-be-submitted $70 mail-in-rebate), and I believe on my receipt the “retail price” listed was $350. Since that was only printed there (presumably) to point out what a fantastically glorious deal it was, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was on the high side of the actual “on the street” cost. I dunno if you could find one for $200. (I’m not expressing doubt - I honestly have no idea.)

I felt it was the right choice for me because:[ul][li]I have and make heavy use of (don’t laugh) a Palm m100 PDA. I’ve had it for far longer than I’ve had a cell phone, and carrying around both devices had come to seem silly - consolidation had been on my mind for a while. However, I was too lazy/cheap to do anything until one of them broke; it was the 3-year-old phone that failed before the 7-year old PDA;[]I’m comfortable with Palm OS and liked not switching;[]This thing is a nice size, it seems. It’s smaller than the Blackberries I saw, which means the keyboard is quite tiny - I’m not finding it a problem, though. A compromise worth making, in other words; the size/weight were a major factor in my decision.[/ul][/li]On a related note…

I’m still a bit murky on how one uses a cell phone not purchased from the network provider. Suppose I walk into a Verizon store with some random phone* and say, “I’d like to use this phone from now on instead of the one I got from you guys six months ago. Can you set me up?” What kind of response will I get?

    • OK, handset, for the pedants. :wink:

I upgraded from a Motorola RAZR to a Palm Centro three months ago. Also a Verizon Wireless customer.

I’m happy with the Centro - it does sort of feel like a Treo Lite, but I’m OK with that. I’m also familiar with Palm OS and was happy to stay with it (I do get nostalgic for Graffiti every once in a while). I did change my phone plan to include the unlimited data package, that’s really not totally necessary (but that’s the main feature I wanted - being able to surf the SDMB on my cell is totally cool). So that was an extra 30 or so bucks a month.

Again, since I upgraded, I basically got the Centro for free after mail-in. Not sure what it’s going for on eBay or elsewhere.

Dunno, but the handset I ended up picking up (Samsung SCH-i760) was a Verizon setup. Windows Mobile 6, comes with Office and IE built-in, Wi-Fi, Bluetoth, and EVDO mobile internet, along with a QWERTY keyboard, for $240 with all the accessories on eBay.

Then I realized that both of my dictionary programs I use (SlovoED for Spanish and PlecoDict for Mandarin) are for PalmOS slaps forehead The PlecoDict folks tell me I can transfer my license over to PocketPC though)

I have verizon. My plan is a 4 line Family Share plan. None of the members of the plan actually live with me, but they occasionally get new phones. My brother cuts grass for a living and he keeps replacing his phone because it gets full of grass :dubious:. He keeps buying phones off of his buddies for like $5 since they just traded up and have spare phones. You can swap devices online without even talking to anyone from customer service. the only gotcha is that the hardware must have verizon firmware on it, and it must be made for verizon. There are exceptions if you have unlocked stuff though.

I have a question, if I decide I really like my phone, but at some point decide I no longer wish to do business with Verizon, can I get the phone flashed with another set of firmware to allow it to work on another network, or to unlock the features that Verizon likes to shut down (such as the SIM card)?