The Motorola Karma QA1 is for those who can’t get enough socializing. The slider has a full QWERTY keyboard, a 2.5-inch 240x320 display, 3.6Mbps HSDPA, a 2 megapixel camera, Bluetooth 2.0 support, A-GPS and microSD card slot. Access MySpace, Facebook, email, IM and use its voice memo recording to keep track of it all. AT&T is now selling the Karma for $79.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate, a $39.99 voice plan and $20.00 messaging or data plan.
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Since Apple announced the iPhone 3GS at WWDC 2009, the buzz has been non-stop. There are obviously those Apple fanboys that are hyping this as the Third Coming, as well as those who are a bit more skeptical as to if the speed boost is truly real, and truly worth it. Oh, and of course, the lead-up to the iPhone 3GS launch hasn’t been without controversy, but AT&T stepped up in a big way to make it easier on iPhone 3G owners who want to upgrade without breaking the bank. So the question remains - is it worth it?
iPhone 3GS: The ‘S’ is for ‘Speed’
Okay, so many of us were speculating that this phone would be called the iPhone video. After all, when video came to the iPod, it was called the iPod video, and video would certainly be the big feature if it was included in the third iPhone, right? Wrong. Video takes a back seat to speed when it comes to the iPhone 3GS. I know, that sounds all sorts of silly, but allow me to explain. Apple has been focused on optimizing and refining OS X, as evidenced by what we are seeing with Snow Leopard. Remember, the iPhone is based on OS X at it’s core, and Apple wouldn’t neglect bringing those refinements to their flagship mobile device.
That said, believe the hype. This phone is very noticeably faster than the iPhone and iPhone 3G—even if you have an iPhone 3G that is already running the faster iPhone 3.0 update. You are able to launch and quit the core apps in a snap. Internet speeds are faster. Launching those games that take a while to load is nowhere near as frustrating. And best of all, despite this being a “little thing,” the little nagging stalls and overall lack of responsiveness are just gone.
Did you know that if you have an iPhone running that iPhone OS 3.0 under an AT&T plan, you get to use AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots for free? Even better, after you log on to an AT&T Wi-Fi hotspot once, you’ll be auto-logged on to any others that you want to join as well, no extra cost to you. Check out the video above to hear AT&T’s Seth Bloom explain it a bit further.
It’s the zero hour, and those iPhone 3GS units need to hurry up and get to their final AT&T Store destinations. Wonder how a launch of this size gets managed? Check out the video above, which shows workers at an AT&T distribution center getting the iPhone 3GS scanned, boxed, and ready to ship for tomorrow’s launch.
If you are looking to pick up an iPhone 3GS from an AT&T Store tomorrow morning, you’ll want to check out the video above to details on how everything is going to flow tomorrow morning. Basically, stores open at 7:00 AM, and you’ll be able to enter first if you have a pre-ordered phone waiting for you. As soon as the pre-order line is done, you can enter to purchase an iPhone 3GS if you did not pre-order. That second line is good for both current and new AT&T customers, but if you are new, you should head to the AT&T iPhone page first so you can get through the process a bit quicker, since you’ll be pre-qualified.
Earlier today we told you how AT&T impressed us by offering “best pricing” upgrades for iPhone 3G users to iPhone 3GS. Some wondered what would happen if they had already ordered the iPhone, especially if they bought it through the Apple Store. Turns out, Apple is already on top of it. I just got an email from the Apple Store Online team, letting me know that, within the next 5 days, I will get getting a $200 refund. You can see the entire text of the email after the break.
We have got to hand it to AT&T, as they’ve continued to impress us during this iPhone 3G S pre-launch period. Remember when we told you that iPhone 3G owners would pay a premium for iPhone 3G S at launch? Well there was a backlash on Twitter, Facebook, and just about every other social network you can think of, with iPhone 3G owners demanding that AT&T rethink their upgrade policy for these early adopters. It meant a difference of $200.
Of course, we figured that AT&T would ignore all of this, as iPhone 3G owners are under a contract that they agreed to, and AT&T wasn’t doing anything but making them live up to those contract terms. However, AT&T has pretty much done the unthinkable, and is allowing iPhone 3G customer who are eligible for an early upgrade in July, August, or September to get the best pricing on the iPhone 3G S. In other words, if you bought an iPhone 3G last July, August, or September, you can pick up an iPhone 3G S for the $199/299 pricing model, rather than the $399/499 price that you are supposed to be paying.
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If you’re an AT&T customer wanting to get the low-down on the iPhone 3GS launch plans, Seth Bloom of AT&T has put up the video above to help you out. Seth goes into pricing (although he doesn’t explain some of the gross iPhone 3GS pricing discrepancies), and how the $199/299 price points are only for “new and qualifying” customers. He also says that on launch day, June 19, two lines will form at AT&T Stores. One for those who have pre-ordered the device, and another for those who need to make a purchase. Pre-orders get picked up at 7 AM, which regular purchasers will need to wait until the store opens at normal business hours. Last, the current iPhone 3G is now available for $99 for the 8GB model, and the 16GB model is now selling for $149, while supplies last.
Amidst all the iPhone 3GS hype, there is some bad news today as well for owners of the current iPhone 3G who may want to upgrade. As it turns out, those $199/299 prices being thrown around aren’t for you. Those are for new customers, and those who are at the end of their contract. If you are a current iPhone 3G owner on AT&T, you’ll have to shell out $399 for a 16GB iPhone 3GS, or $499 for a 32GB model. Ever have your iPhone 3G replaced because it was faulty? You may be in for an even bigger shock. As you can see in the image above, there are two iPhones that AT&T is giving the upgrade status on. The thing is, both phones were purchased on the same day, and are on the same plan (I should know, as it is my account up there.) See how the upgrade dates are different? Straight up ridiculous.
Oh, and if you are just completely not eligible for an upgrade, or want to buy an iPhone 3GS with no contract commitments? The 16GB model will cost you $599, and the 32GB iPhone 3GS will run you a cool $699. I know, it hurts.
If you have yet to purchase an iPhone 3G, you now have another way of buying it, as Apple is now offering direct online purchase of the phone. Something that hasn’t been seen since the original iPhone, online purchasing is back in effect on the Apple website. AT&T has actually been selling the iPhone 3G on their site for about five months now. If you are a new subscriber, you activate service online and the phone is sent to you. Current AT&T customer will have to go and pick up the iPhone 3G at an Apple Store.
This is obviously just another way that Apple is trying to clear out all that iPhone 3G inventory in preparation of the next model.
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