Here's a question that perplexed my parents for a number of years: What should I get my teenage kid for the holidays? Kids can change their minds on a whim, so what's hot one day can be extinguished the next. The one thing they will universally enjoy, though, is a killer cell phone -- especially if they have an old one and have been begging for something new. Here we'll take a look at some of the hottest prepaid phones this holiday season.
Virgin Mobile Shuttle
Virgin Mobile made a big move in 2008 by acquiring Helio, a cell phone company that fell onto hard times. Along with this deal they acquired not only Helio's impressive handset lineup, including the acclaimed Ocean, but it also horned in on Helio's MVNO agreement with Sprint. This meant undefined EVDO data speeds for Virgin. Their first handset to offer these speeds is the Shuttle.
It's a slider phone that takes Virgin's data services to the next level. You can download music, wallpaper, and ringtones with speed never before available from Virgin. The phone also features a music player, the first Virgin phone to do so since the Slider Sonic. Like most other phones of its ilk, it features a camera, 1.3 megapixels, and Bluetooth.
As of this writing the Shuttle is available exclusively at Best Buy. It could be available on Virgin's website any time now.
Available from: Virgin Mobile USA.
The first phone with a full QWERTY keyboard on our list is the Samsung Messager. This one has the added advantage of having the traditional 12-key dial pad on the outside, while sliding out to reveal a real keyboard. Like the Shuttle above, the Messager has an MP3 player with removable memory, Bluetooth, and a camera, this one checking in at 1.3 megapixels.
The biggest difference between other slider QWERTYs and the Messager, I think, is the width of the keyboard. With many the keyboard wasn't as wide, but this keyboard stretches the entire height of the phone, which can be a bit cumbersome. Still, it's hard to underestimate the keyboard. Cricket, one of the carriers with the Messager, has issued a model from NBA star Greg Oden.
Available from: Cricket Wireless.
The Rumor is essentially just like the Samsung Messager, except on a different carrier. In fact, the carrier might be the reason to buy this phone. It's on kajeet, which is a carrier dedicated to kids between the ages of 8 and 15. They offer services like GPS tracking and parental controls, so parents have a say in who their child calls and where they can go with the phone.
Like the other phones on this list, the Rumor has a built-in MP3 player with expandable memory, a 1.3 megapixel camera, and Bluetooth. If you have a younger kit and prefer kajeet's service, this might be the one for you.
Available from: Kajeet.
Cooper Lang is a contributing writer for GoingCellular.com - a top resource for information on cell phones that includes reviews of cellular phone providers like AT&T as well industry news and information. http://www.goingcellular.com