Retail is going mobile and more. After you pick up a book (or DVD, home electronics and anything else from the online superstore), you can soon head over to Amazon Wireless. Amazon.com has now launched a beta version of a new service to let customers shop for mobile phones and service plans. The site currently offers plans from AT&T and Verizon Wireless, as well as more than 120 mobile handsets, including BlackBerry.
And while you have the ability to try out your new phone as you walk out of a brick and mortar store, Amazon.com will offer free two-day shipping, and even waive activation fees on some handsets. The only downside is that the site doesn’t carry all the phones available from all carriers – and one notable exception is the Apple iPhone. Nor does the site provide plans from all the networks. But if you know the network you want, and Amazon Wireless has it, and you think you know the phone, than this could be a good way to do the shopping from your computer and get your new phone sent directly to you.
This week will also see the launch of the LG Applications Store, which will go live throughout much of Southern Australasia, including Malaysia, Australia and Singapore. The site will offer more than 1,400 apps from the third-largest manufacturer of mobile handsets (behind Nokia and Samsung). However, the company has no current plans to bring the store to the U.S., despite the fact that it will support handsets running Windows Mobile.
However, the company will be expanding to Europe and South America by the end of this year, and the company says it should reach 2,000 available apps by late 2009 as well. So why the hold-up on the North American front? Well, speculation is running high that LG might be waiting for Windows Mobile 7 or might just be trying to stay out of the way of Microsoft, which is also launching its own mobile apps store.
Cnet Asks: Do You Really, Really Need a Smartphone
For many users this is probably a one-word answer. It is either an immediate “yes” or an immediate “no.” But if you’re thinking about whether you need a smartphone, our friends at Cnet have a good article that can offer you some food for thought on the issue, and it even includes some suggestions on which feature phones might be a smarter move.
And to throw in my two cents, if you’re mostly texting, making calls and only need to use the mobile Web on the rarest occasions, then a feature phone might be the better option. If you actually take advantage of key apps, browse the Web, check e-mail and even do work from your handset (or think you’d use these features and functionality) then a smartphone is probably a better idea.
However, one thing that Cnet didn’t mention was that while overkill isn’t a good move, moving up can be a problem. Don’t lock yourself into a two-year plan with a feature phone if you can avoid it – or at least see what the penalties are if you change your mind and want to upgrade. That can be an expensive option, so if you’re on the fence this is a case where getting a smartphone and not using it to its full-potential today might be a better option in the long run.