One of the biggest cell phone trends of 2009 was the rapid rise of quick messaging handsets. Not quite a smartphone and made for more than making calls, quick messaging models like the Samsung Impression typically offer QWERTY keyboards, support for 3G networks, and a full HTML browser. And depending on the carrier, GPS, streaming video, and music downloads may be onboard as well.
Messaging phones have become popular because they appeal to consumers who want more than a basic device--particularly one that is centered on texting--but don't want the extra features and required data plan that come with a smartphone. On that last point, however, the landscape is changing quickly.
As customers began to take advantage of the needed features on messaging phones, carriers wanted to capitalize on the extra revenue involved. Verizon Wireless was first out of the gate last year when it required customers purchasing a Samsung Rogue and an LG enV Touch to select one of two data plans ($9.99 for 25MB of data and unlimited e-mail or $29.99 for unlimited data and e-mail). And last month, the carrier added the data plan requirement to five other quick-messaging devices. As my colleague Maggie Reardon wrote then, Verizon instituted the plans because it doesn't want customers to be upset if they incurred expensive data charges from services that they didn't realize they were using.… Read more