Verizon Smartphones: Tech Under $50

Smartphones can be pretty expensive.  The monthly contracts tack on more fees (and services) than feature phones, which add up over time.  Even at the outset, they are also quite expensive.  Phones like the previous version of the iPhone (currently the 3GS) are selling for $99, but there are still a lack of smartphones in the $100 or less category.  Unlike wine, vintage technology is rarely in demand, but if you’re willing to sacrifice some of the latest and greatest features, there are a few decent phones to be had at a relative bargain.

Palm Pre Plus $49.99 {Verizon}:

The Palm Pre Plus is the fastest phone available running WebOS, though with only four such phones in existence, that might not be much to brag about.  WebOS has a slew of interesting features like Synergy which will merge your Gmail and Facebook contacts into the address book if you set it with those accounts.  It also handles multitasking with an elegant card system.  As for speed? It may run a bit slowly compared to recent competitors, and have a relatively small screen, but it’s not a bad phone by any stretch.

HTC Droid Eris $0.01 {Amazon}:

The HTC Droid Eris is essentially the same as the original HTC Hero, but with a different shell.  It now runs on Android 2.1 with HTC’s Sense UI over the top of it, similar to the HTC EVO or Droid Incredible. The processor is not nearly as fast as either of those phones (528 MHz as compared to 1 GHz for EVO and Incredible), but still runs fairly well.  It is certainly more easily pocketable than the likes of the EVO or the Droid X with it’s smaller 3.2-inch screen.  It won’t be getting any more OS updates, but being stuck on 2.1 at the moment isn’t so bad – particularly compared to those phones still stuck on Android 1.6 or lower.

LG Ally $0.01 {Amazon}

The LG Ally is the second phone on this list with a physical keyboard, but unlike the Pre Plus, it runs on Android 2.1.  The phone is actually fairly new, having launched on Verizon to little fanfare in May.  There’s no talk of a Froyo update as of yet, but as LG’s first Android phone, it’s a pretty good opening shot.  The phone’s processor would clock in around the Eris, but it runs on stock Android with an optional themes app that could mean less of a drain on the battery.  If you want a smartphone on Verizon with a physical keyboard that isn’t as cramped as the Pre Plus, and don’t want to spring for a Droid, the LG Ally is a good choice.


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