Share this Story

The Problem With Mobile Devices, The Price Tag [Opinion]

Standards in the mobile industry have been few and far between in the past. However, cellphone manufactures have recently done away with their different chargers and have adopted the microUSB. While the addition of the microUSB has been much appreciated, there have been other adopted standards that are just unbelievable.

Somewhere, someone thought of the magical price tag of $199.99 as the fair price for a top of the line smartphone, that is with a two-year agreement of course. If you were to buy one of these incredible mobile devices off contract it would run you an upwards of $500 – which is just ridiculous. A majority of these smartphones cost anywhere from $150-$200 to produce, yet these corporations feel inclined to market them with a 100% price increase. You then receive the two-year contract discount, which in the end has you paying much much more. Think about it, every 14-18 months you are spending $199 on a new phone and continue to lock yourself into your (most likely) expensive contract.

Now with the introduction of 4G, service providers are again increasing the price of their plans and smartphones. I plan on pre-ordering the Galaxy Nexus the moment it is available – even with that $299 price tag. However, this mobile phone will cost me more than an Xbox 360, PS3, or even a new HD television – if I was to buy it off contract it would cost me more than some computers.

Just think about it, how much will a 5G phone cost, or better yet a new quad-core one? These prices are absurd, why do we continue to buy into them?

  • Realitycheck

    I’m confused why everyone is so shocked by this price. If I remember correctly Verizon has been charging $299 for top tier phones since the Thunderbolt. I  for one expected to pay $299 and was just hoping they wouldn’t tack on some new fee or price increase. 

    The average consumer is not going to ask for a Nexus when they are looking for a smartphone. They either want the iPhone or the cheapest smartphone available. The Nexus is going to wipe the floor with any phone currently available, but the only people who will be lining up launch day are the Android fanatics. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, I think the RAZR will outsell the NEXUS due to the DROID label. 

    If you don’t want to or having a problem with paying $299, wait until it isn’t the latest and greatest. If you want the best phone in the world, be happy you live in an age where a device that can act as a phone/media player/game console/gps/computer/wifi hotspot/tv remote/car remote/house remote/barcode scanner/HD camcorder/digital camera/web phone/etc. costs less than $300. 

    • babadush


  • I think smartphone tech is advancing faster than prices can keep up. Look at computers or most any other tech, dollar for dollar, you’re getting way more tech than would you would a couple years ago for the same price. Now look at Android phones, let’s not forget only 3 short years ago the G1 was selling for $129 on contract, and now processors are 4x or more faster, screen resolutions have exploded, more RAM, more storage, cameras have gotten so much better, everything has improved tenfold. I think it’s because the tech evolves so rapidly, the price also jumps with it and doesn’t have a chance to settle. Also the reverse is true, used Android phones lose resale value rather quickly. Within a couple months of release you can find the phones for free on contract through third party retailers and pickup a used one for $300 or less that was a flagship phone only a few months back.

  • Lethalprophet

    Just an FYI – I work in a retail industry, where our MSRP is approximately 5.4079 times our manufacturing cost. So to see something like these phones marked up to twice their cost isn’t that bad.

  • Weskokemor

    wiser words have never been said. I paid more for my phone than I did for my laptop.

  • Ray

    its as simple as if we keep paying for it they will keep charging these prices

  • todd

    I would feel better about the price if verizon would allow activation of smartphones without a data plan or at least a cheap one. I would like to give my son my Incredible (when I get the GN) to use for a phone and use it on wifi only. Don’t want to pay $30 extra for everyone in my family.

  • My only thought is that i’m making up for the subsidized price anyways with my phone plan, so I might as well take the “discount” on the phone purchase. If I could get a discounted plan and buy the phone outright, that would probably be a good option since now it seems the price of the phone plus the ETF is MORE than the retail price of the phone.

  • Anonymous

    The real problem is that WE are all the fools.  I would love to find away to get us all to skip out on the next big phone and cancel our contracts, but that will never happen and these companies know that.  I only hope that T Mobile does not get bought out by att, as competition, if there is such a thing, should exist.

    As stated, this fool will be putting my money down for a razr and another 2 year contract. Yuck!

  • Bryan Corazza

    Only buying as my company will pay for it, not sure how others spend this type of money on a phone.

    • babadush

      I agree. I don’t get why anyone would pay retail for a phone just because it’s the latest one. For someone to complain about their own impatience and stupidity is pretty remarkable.

  • Jikhead

    This is nothing new.  If we’re going to complain about this, then let’s start a post about all these airline fees that are making them rich and profitable.  My sister has worked for AA for over 20 years.  I’ve complained about all the fees but yet she justifies them and states if not for the fees, the ticket price would have to go up.  When I discuss trying to get her to upgrade to a smart phone, she says, “I’m not paying $200 dollars for a phone!  That’s just ridiculous.”  Catch-22 isn’t it?

  • Gamecubic

        I would imagine the high price tag is there to keep demand down on some phones. They want to sell the phone, but dont want backlash from their customer base about not making enough phones for the price they are offering it at(i**one anyone?). 
        I think another reason is that the phone can and will sell at the price. I just think the phone manufacturers know that people will pay crazy prices for bleeding edge tech in phones. They know a lot of people want the quadcore phone with 4gb of ram and has the latest software right at release that is also nearly indestructible, even if the phone is $300 dollars with a 2yr contract.
        I just think those are the two main reason. I just hope these phones start to come down in price over the coming months and fewer iterations on a yearly basis. Think these phone manufacturers should also focus a bit more on phone longevity, ie making the phone work well for atleast a 2 year span(not including battery). sucks when you have your phone for a year and the phone feels sluggish.

  • Anonymous

    While I agree with the concept Dan is complaining about, I don’t think he’s using the best examples, the gaming systems were all originally priced as loss leaders since the  manufacturers get a cut of each game sold, and the HD market is incredibly competitive – AND – in the US not exclusively marketed by 4 players that effectively have a government granted monopoly on cell phones.  

    Don’t like paying so much for cell phones, don’t like the fact that all the carriers charge basically the same amount, or that they all seem to magically have the same BS fees, or that most of them impose the same limits on usage, and lock us out of features?  Well, then tell the FCC and your congressmen to quit selling OUR public air space for billions of dollars, thereby locking out most new competitors. 

    The problem is that we are locked into buying these devices from carriers that have exclusive use of public air waves, like typical utilities, but don’t have anyone regulation as far as fees, etc.  This would be fine if we had 6-10 national carriers as there would then be some competition, but today, it just doesn’t exist.  

    Wait until ATT’s acquisition of T-Mobile is approved, then we’ll really have something to complain about!

    BTW – I’m almost always anti-regulation, but in this instance these companies power has been granted by use of the public airwaves and they are abusing that…primarily because the government decided to sell access like it was a piggybank.  

  • Obi5683

    European carriers offered the SGSII for free if you signed a 40£/mo contract.

  • timmy13

    What ever happened to Moore’s law?

  • Abolian1976

    I think $400 is a fair price for a non contract. My problem is with the li
    mited data plans all the companies have went with. When we had 3g phones most were unlimited, now that they have 4g they are shifting to limited data. 4g drinks data. Sure they are bulding 4g networks but should the consumer be ripped off so a ceo can get millions in bonuses? They shoud advertise that we all need wifi connections to use these devices. I have a thunderbolt and use 10gb easily to surf and stream music while I’m out. They know people want these devices and rip them off for using their network. I know they need profits but this is absurd. We need a revolution agains these companies, they are ripping consumers off in many different ways. Sprint is an exception, but their network is slow as mollasses.

    • Anonymous

      This is one reason why I decided to stay with AT&T and pick up a GS2 instead of switching to Verizon and getting the Nexus.  I was able to keep my unlimited data plan on AT&T.

      And as a bonus, the GS2 is a pretty sweet phone.  I really like it.  No buyers remorse here.

      • Anonymous

        verizon lets those who have unlimited keep their unlimited for lte devices too.

  • angermeans

    I usually agree with the “opinions” of this great site and one of the reasons I come here is that I feel part of the community and I think that we get unbiased (slightly, but hey we are all biased in one way or another), up to date, and early news on our beloved OS of choice. I was more than happy to pay $250-$299 for a Verizon 4G LTE device (albeit the only one I have felt is even worth a dime was the HTC Thunderbolt and it has had more problems than most). I would much rather pay $50-$100 more for a device running on the excellent 4G LTE service that Verizon offers and in my opinion they are more than able to sell their phones for more than what Sprint, ATT, and especially T-Mo are offering for their “so called” 4G devices. 4G LTE is worth the price of admission especially considering the fact that LTE is as close as 4th Gen as we are going to get and is actually worth the name change from 3rd gen to 4th gen. I am a firm believer that because of Wireless providers here in America the name “4G” doesn’t mean much any more and is thrown around and abused more than a hand me down pair of jeans, but as I have said Verizon is the only provider that can actually back up that “marketing” with their offering in the mobile broadband space. 

    For me I was very worried that we would see these companies get away with charging $10-$20 more per month for mobile broadband plans and I was 90% sure it was going to happen. Every one always worships Sprint and says how “cost effective” their plans are, but no one ever complains about their $10 fake 4G tax that they charge even when their fake 4G phones aren’t anywhere near their small network of “next gen” network that they neither own nor have update a new market in over 6 months, not to mention the fact that they are releasing dozens of these “fake 4G” phones on WiMax when they know (and I doubt most outside of this Android community and droid-life reader base) that they will be moving to the much better “real 4G” LTE network they plan to start to release the middle of 2012. Not only that, but their current “4G” offerings will not be compatible with their up and coming LTE network. That is wrong and if you ask me and probably most of us I am more than happy to pay an extra $50-$100 (one time fee) to have the same $29.99 data plan. I think Verizon has handled it vert well and to be honest I am pretty sure that the manufacture is the one that sets the price. For me bring on the Gal Nexus I will pay whatever they charge and be happy with it on my grandfathered unlimited (and nations only) 4G LTE network. I don’t always agree with the networks and in this case I am only agreeing with one, but Verizon handled this system well because we all know they had to charge something and this was the best way they could have done it because we all know that we would be complaining about a 4G tax on our monthly bills if they would have done it that way. Networks usually take a loss on hardware so they can make it up during the 2 yr contract and I am friends with a guy that is high up on one of the main 4 networks here in America and he said that networks usually don’t make a profit on a device until around the 18th month of a 24 month contract. Anyways, keep up the great writing and thanks for creating a great Android community where we all are offered choice and an opinion. 

    • Anonymous

      god!.. why is your post so long? I want to know what you wrote.. but can you condense it to 3 sentences or so?

    • Anonymous

      did anybody read all of that?

      • Michael


      • angermeans

        Good god it wasnt that long. If it bothers you to spend two minutes reading then move along. I was just writing my opinion on the matter and it really wasnt written anybody in general, but the article.

      • Anonymous

        If you don’t have the attention span to read comments, what are you doing posting on here?

    • Dan

      This wasn’t a direct opinion towards Verizon (although I am on their network), more of an opinion towards the industry as a whole. It is disappointing that an off contract smartphone can run you as much as a computer. 

      It makes you wonder, as technology advances and the tools required to build these devices becomes cheaper…will they actually be sold at lower prices? Most likely not. A company has the right to make a profit but these phone price spikes should not be the answer they are looking for.

      • angermeans

        I totally agree and I hope I didn’t mean to come off as I was against you or for Verizon as Verizon is out for one reason and that’s profit. I agree when we sign a two year agreement we should get much better rates on phones that cost 150-200 to manufacture and they are charging this plus two years commit. This is the reason Verizon and others are scrambling to bring dozens of phones to market every quarter. I just wanted to bring light (and my opinion) to this matter as most think that Verizon and wireless carriers charge these outlandish rates. They don’t the manufacture does and as for me I would rather pay a one time 50-100 than 10-20 extra dollars a month on a 4G data plan. I think companies like htc, Samsung and Motorola are going to be forced to lower rates here in the next year as tablets become less and less money people are going to really see that these devices don’t cost this much to manufacture and these outrageous prices on subsidized phones bring money in droves to these companies but we really don’t have much room to complain if we keep lining up to get these phones by the millions and multiple times a year. I hope for more competitive prices, but my gut tells me (especially if the FCC lets att scoop up tmo) that we will see higher and higher prices as we go along. For me I will be in line with most of you waiting for the next Google phone.

    • Just an fyi Wi-max is 4G just not a fast as LTE, AT&T and T-mo are the only ones with “fake 4G”. Agree with the rest of your post. 

      Lol at people and their ADD these days

      • Anonymous

        wimax is fake 4g and you get it about nowhere.

      • angermeans

        I guess ultimately your right but clearwires pathetic wimax network that hasn’t seen a single new market in months is hardly a 4G network even for sprint. They know this too and this is why they have cashed in as long as they can as being “America’s first 4G network” and ultimately their customers will feel it when they make the change to lte and the phones they are still 16 months in contract with won’t be compatible. That to me is why I called it fake as it was done out of despiration kind of like the betting the whole companie on the iPhone 4s when other like Verizon merely offering the iPhone as an option along with dozens of android, blackberry and soon windows phone 7 devices. There is a giant difference esprint needs the iPhone (that’s actually arguabke as they have been doimg great without it lately in my opinion) and apple needed Verizon.

  • It must be because it costs so much to license Android and put it on the phones. 

    (This started off as a JK comment since Android is open source and free but now that I think about it, Microsoft charges the OEMs for Android so I guess it isn’t free…)

  • i really wish google bought that700 mhz band…i would love to sell my soul to google for a full on digital utopia…

  • i really wish google bought that700 mhz band…i would love to sell my soul to google for a full on digital utopia…

  • While I wish the phones were cheaper, and I would like to pay less than $300 (especially if they bring the 16GB version), it is true that there is a stunning level of design and innovation in these tiny devices.  I would like to see how the $150-$200 figure was arrived upon.

    I suspect with R&D, it is more expensive.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve mentioned this before, but cell phones seem to be the only consumer electronic where the MSRP rarely drops when a phone is phased out.  The only price that drops is the contract price.  The only place to get it cheap is via ebay or craigslist, but never through the retailer directly.

    I personally don’t mind paying the 2-year contract price (I prefer 1-year contracts though, but no more on Verizon) if i’m going to stick with the carrier for two years assuming that the phone can last.

    But, yes, this $299 price point is a little ridiculous.  I wonder if we’ll still see that price when phones have newer LTE chipsets in them which technically should make them cheaper.

  • Joewelker

    I read this blog to hear the latest news on upcoming verizon android devices, not to hear a brief post complaining about the cost of top of the line phones when purchased immediately upon launch. They cost that much because people are willing to pay that much.

    • Anonymous

      Maybe your post would be valid if you fully funded Droid-Life operations. It’s a community blog, opinions are one of the main points.

      • Joewelker

        I don’t have a problem with opinions, just opinions that are not well thought out. This site normally has high quality posts. This is not one of them.

  • I’m fine with paying 200 for a new top of the line device on contract, but I believe that 300 for a device just because it is 4G is stupid. The radio def doesn’t cost 100 bucks, or even 50 bucks I’m sure. (i tried to do a google search and checked ifixit.com but couldn’t find a cost for the LTE radio)

    • Anonymous

      Of course, it’s kind of like Apple charging $100 for 16 GB of memory – going from 16GB iPhone to 32GB, when we know 16 GB of flash memory costs about $10.00.  The companies cut margins at the low end, knowing that those that want the best features will pay a premium…what choice do you have if you want a high end LTE phone?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, the way these prices are going is quite crazy, but if you think about it, your not only paying for the end product. When you buy a smartphone your paying for the cost of development, the cost to keep it up to date and so on. An xbox game disc and box costs less than $5 but why do we pay $60 for it new??? I’m getting my Galaxy Nexus on contract but it would have been nice to pay $200 instead of the $300 expected price.

  • Rizzidy

    This article was not well thought out.

    • Cmonnats23

      how so? Support your outlandish claim; dumbass.

      • Admin

        I also think it wasn’t well thought out. My main reason is that the author basically lists all these complaints, yet in the end says he will stay pay the market price for the service. Its like me saying that iPod is so expensive and blogging about it, yet still buying it on launch day!

  • Sp4rxx

    The 4G phone is not going to cost me any more than the 3G OG that I bought 2 years ago.  It had the $589 price tag as will the future phones (that are top of the line).

    With promotional discounts and NE2 and all that, I only ended up spending about $150 for my OG.  Granted VZW did away with NE2, but am sure they will continue with other forms of discounts in some fashion.

    Though I agree that $589 non-contract is OUTRAGEOUS for a device no bigger than a gamepad and that is out-dated 6 months after release, but if you sign a contract, those prices aren’t as high as you might think.  Besides, VZW (and I’m sure all the other carriers as well) make their money on accessories, not the retail price on the phone itself.

    How many people ACTUALLY spend over half a grand on a phone w/o contract?  Not many.

    • Don’t say you’re sure because you’re really not. There are no more discounts similar to NE2. The only thing you get is the primary line gets an early upgrade, which isn’t new. Plus, they make most of their money renewing contracts and signing new ones. they make some money on accessories.

      • Sp4rxx

        I worked (a very short while) for VZW and they markup on accessories would floor you.  A simple bluetooth headset (not anything special like stereo or music streaming) cost the consumer $60.

        Brand new in a non-carrier store, that same headset sold for $25.  That is too much of a markup and that is A LOT of profit.

        • right be you should know that upgrading and signing new customers are what you really want to go for. Thats where they get their money. It’s common sense. Which makes verizon more money, 2 year contract for $90 a month, or a car charger and a case?

  • JCopernicus

    Someone is in a bad mood.

    The $530 price point has been standard for nearly a decade.

  • What pisses me off is the fact that these 4G phones retail for the same or even less than the 3G phones did a couple years ago (or maybe even today still) but the 3G phones were still $199 when released, yet now with 4G, they’re tacking on an extra $100. Doesn’t make buying off contract sound so bad. 

    • Sounds like Big Red’s (and every other carrier’s) exact thought process.  That means another 300 bucks in their pocket.

  • Todd Voss

    i think the high price tag is for the amount of power they pack into such a small device. sure they are getting bigger as time goes on but think of everything that can be done on a smartphone now.  while its not that practical to use a smaller device for all the things they can do I’m sure it is invaluable to many people out there these days.  but regardless, i agree. they charge way too much considering the contract cost.  should be free if you factor that in really. full retail should be the 2 to 300 dollar price tag.

  • AM

    Part of the problem is that you can’t get the subsidy if you buy used – Say you buy a Droid X for $150 off Ebay, but you’re willing to commit to two years of service. Verizon isn’t gonna cut you a check for $300, the amount it subsidizes the Bionic and others.

  • Absurd

    F that!  PRIMMMMMMMEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Coaster36

    Where did you get the information that it costs only $150-$200 to produce a phone? That is incredibly low. Research and development, and marketing all cost lots of money, they have to recoup that money in the sale price of a phone. 

    • wow is your nose brown….wtf man…

    • Anonymous

      Valid points.  But if it’s possible to produce something like a full-fledged computer at a price point below what many of these phones are at full retail (and those computer companies have research, development, and marketing costs along with employee salaries), the markup on these phones still seems a bit high.

    • Anonymous

      The BOM(bill of materials) cost is not the total cost per device. 

  • I think 199$ without contract and Free with contract …that would be fair deal
    above 200$ of any phone with our without contract is too much…come on it is just a phone after all

    • Billy Jenkins

      its not “just” a phone. the phones from 2004 were “just” phones. Now they are phones, media players, dictionaries, mini computers, cameras, wifi routers, tv and dvd remotes, mouses for laptops, external hard drives, and much more. But thats if you choose to download an app for all of those features. My laptop cost $1000 and can’t even do everything my phone can do. My $200 phone is even faster then my $1000 laptop. So I’m curious how $200 for a smartphone is too much.

      • wawo…so laptops are useless now…??

        • Billy Jenkins

          almost every android phone has the same features that every laptop has plus a few more. Even the OG droid which was released in 2009 has the same features as laptops but they keep releasing phones with even more features that that. So no laptops aren’t completely useless yet but they will be soon. they will always serve that purpose of having a really big screen and a cd and dvd drive but with everything going digital it wont be long before cd and dvd drives become useless. and android tablets aren’t that much smaller then laptop screens so it wont be long before that becomes useless also.

      • Your laptop can do a lot of things your phone can’t do though. They not mutually replaceable.

        • Billy Jenkins

          no. My phone can do everything my laptop can do and more. But my laptop cant do everything my phone is capable of doing. Even the new laptops can’t. Think about it. My laptop and the new laptops have homescreens where u can put icons u use the most. On laptops u can listen to music, watch movies, install and play games, browse the internet, use instant messaging programs, and video chat. My phone can do all that plus text, call, and take pics. and its small enough to fit in my pocket. the only thing my laptop can do that my phone cant is burn cds and dvds. But u can buy a cheap dvd burner for only $40 and a cheap laptop for $280. So if smartphones were cheaper then $200 then when u buy a new laptop u would basically be paying a few hundred dollars for a dvd burner since thats all it has that a  smartphone doesn’t have. so yea smartphones kinda do replace laptops.

          • Jake

            Then you must have a really shitty laptop. My laptop (which I got for $299 at Office Depot) can do more than my smartphone, and it can do things a whole hell of a lot faster than my smartphone. My laptop has a lot more internal storage, several full USB2 ports, etc.. It runs Photoshop and other apps that require too much power for my smartphone to run. Even borrowing your example of DVD burners being cheap; it’s not about the cost of the drive, but what my laptop can do with it. My laptop re-encodes DVDs and Blu-Rays, edits videos…my smartphone can’t do that. My laptop allows me to comfortably view and pictures and movies on the large screen; my smartphone’s screen is small (and if you’re smartphone has HDMI out, are you going to carry a mini-HDMI cable and a large HDTV with you everywhere?). Yes, smartphones are amazing devices, considering what they can do in such a small size. However, let’s not get stupid by saying that they can do everything and more than what a laptop can do.

  • Rob

    I get kinda annoyed thinking how much off contract prices are and then a report from iFixit has your latest and greatest device costing less than $150 to build.

    Yes, it’s cheaper because the manufacturers order millions of components but still it sucks to pay so much off contract. $400 should really be the maximum cost (assuming it costs less than $200 to build).

  • Guest

    Couldn’t agree more. It doesn’t make sense that we can go out and buy a tablet for $300-$500 with no contract when essentially it’s just a big cell phone. Yet we have to pay that same price for a phone WITH a 2-year contract. 

  • trevorsalienarms

    Has this actually just now dawned on anyone? The markup is crazy high, and it will to continue so long as there’s evening news-worthy mile-long lines wrapped around Apple and Verizon stores to get the leatest/greatest technology.

    Basically, we all want the coolest stuff and then supply/demand takes care of the rest. Look how quickly the prices of those Droid models that didn’t sell so well dropped….stop buying them and the price goes down.

    I will of course become part of the problem when I purchase the Galaxy Nexus at full MSRP ’cause I’m in the middle of my current contract….sigh.

  • Anonymous

    We just talked about this in my econ class today, weird haha.

  • Anonymous

    I agree….I am KEEPING my OG for 2 more years just to spite VZW, and not give them more money….I think I can make it last!
    breaking out the duct tape now…
    Who’s with me????

  • Concerned Citizen

    1) If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. Or try to convince a company to sell you something for less than they know you’re willing to pay. Good luck.

    2) The “expensive contract” you’re locking yourself in to is for service you know you were going to pay for anyway. The contract is effectively meaningless.

    3) Are you seriously comparing the price of the very latest cell phone technology to game console technology from 2005?

  • Jason Purp

    Anybody else buying the Galaxy Nexus at full retail price?

    • Crazydog

      *raises hand*

    • Anonymous

       just curious.. why would you want to buy it at full retail price unless you are forced to buy one because you are in a contract?

      You obviously cannot use the phone on other networks right?

      • Anonymous

        …or because you don’t want to sign a contract and be locked into a specific carrier for two years.

        • Sundar Ganapathy

          though, to be fair to verizon, no one is going to have an LTE network that can compete on coverage and speed for at least a year and a half – so not much of a reason to leave.

          • Anonymous

            That all depends on where a person is living and what that person’s needs are.  And there are other reasons why someone might choose to leave, such as price.

            But for most people who visit a site like this, buying phones off contract isn’t for any of those reasons.  It’s because they want the latest and greatest and don’t have the option of buying at the contract price because they’re already locked into a contract.

        • Anonymous

           if you don’t use your “full priced” phone on verizon for 2 years at least.. then what is the point of getting the phone at full price? Like I said.. most likely you won’t be able to use it elsewhere.

          • Anonymous

            The point is because you want the latest and greatest.  Then, when something else comes along that’s better, you buy it and sell the last one.  You’d be surprised how little the phones end up costing if switch out frequently. There are a lot of people who want a high end used phone in good condition off contract for a variety of reasons.

          • You rarely can sell the phone for more than 50% of the retail full price when it’s a few months old and it’s not a cutting edge any more

          • Anonymous

            UNLESS it’s an iPhone… (LOL!)

          • Yep, because iPhone hardware rarely changes

          • Anonymous

            That depends entirely on the phone.  As long as there are no major bugs with it, a fairly cutting edge phone with a $500 retail value will easily go for between $300 and $350 up to four or five months after release, well over 50% of it’s value.  It all depends on where you sell it.

          • Spc Hicks09

            That statement is just completely wrong. People do it all the time.

          • foreWard

            I sold my charge 3 weeks ago, used, for $350 on ebay in 24 hours…..so a little better than that.

        • Anonymous

          I’m curious about this. I hear this a lot, but I’m curious about the reality of it. Don’t get me wrong: I totally understand the sentiment in theory, and I am by no means trying to attack those who express it. For me, though, the reality is that I am going to be using a cellphone on a daily basis for the next two years; there is no value to being able to periodically enable and disable my plan. Also, I will most likely stay on VZW for at least a 1year period, at which point the discount will have likely outweighed the ETF. 

          The only scenario where I could see carrier lock-in being a concern in reality, rather than merely in principle, would be for someone who likes to periodically jump carriers (presumably kinda like some of us like to switch up ROMs, just for the heck of it). Are there people like that out there, who change carriers more than once a year on a regular basis?

          • Anonymous

            Besides being able to periodically enable and disable the plan (which is useful for people who leave the country for extended periods at a time, like myself), there are as many different reasons as there are users.  It could be because they move around quite often.  Within the country, coverage is quite different, so they might get better coverage with one carrier in one place and better coverage with another carrier somewhere else.  Or maybe they don’t know where they’ll be going next and who they should go with.  Some people just don’t like the idea of being locked into a contract, and they don’t have any other reason for it.  For me, it’s the moving around part.  Some places I want a Verizon phone for the coverage.  Some places I want an AT&T phone.  And sometimes, when I’m out of the country, I don’t want a plan anywhere in the states.

            Are they reasons that affect the majority of the population?  Not at all.  But for some people, a contract is more of a hassle than it’s worth.

          • If I could do it, I would. I’ve got a friend who enjoys that kind of flexibility on the cheap thanks to Google Voice, prepaid SIMs, and a souped up quad-band HSPA+ Android phone. If the Verizon Galaxy Nexus included the pentaband HSPA+ radio alongside the dual-band 1xEv radio and the LTE radio, I’d buy it and use it to jump carriers all the time.

        • Well, ETF + subsidized price <= full price anyway 

          • Anonymous

            Disagree… $300 + tax + 350 > $(550 thru 600) +tax

          • I think ETF is prorated, isn’t it?

          • Anonymous

            Partially. If it were prorated, it would get down to $0 at the end… it doesn’t even get close. I believe it gets down to about $135 or so at the end of your two years… so no, not really prorated.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t want to be locked into VZW, although the ETF is turning out to be a cheaper option lately.

      • Jason Purp

        I don’t have an upgrade available for a long time. And I want this phone badly. If the full retail price of the 32GB Nexus is $600, I will be buying it (although I doubt it will be that price, I just really hope. I sold so many things).

        • Anonymous

          you still have your kidney?

      • Dan

        If you do not have an upgrade available or you are not looking to be locked into an additional two-year agreement, then buying a device off contract is quite attractive. 

      • Dan

        If you do not have an upgrade available or you are not looking to be locked into an additional two-year agreement, then buying a device off contract is quite attractive. 

      • John

        some people are just rich =

    • Sundar Ganapathy

      yep..selling a thunderbolt and a droid x though.

    • Anonymous

      Hard to pass up such an unbelievably amazing phone, but yeah the price sucks…especially when you realize just how quickly all that money will become useless (as phones become outdated so rapidly it becomes a necessity to upgrade very frequently). Personally, I’ll be the guy at the front of the line at Verizon on Nexus launch day screaming “Nexus on Verizon!” Nexus on Verizon! Finally!” over and over…

      • Anonymous

        I’m wrestling with the thought of buying the GN. On one hand, I don’t NEED it right now and I have something else I’m trying to save for. On the other hand, I want to support the idea of a Nexus on VZW. If they don’t sell enough we’ll never see another one.

      • Matthew Morrison

        what is the advantage of buying it at full retail price?

        • Anonymous

          Some have to buy at full retail because they don’t have an upgrade available.

        • akhi216

          You can have a lot of things be convenient for you buying a phone at full price if you have the extra money to do so. You can have the phone you have now be backup phone in case your phone gets damaged, stolen, or bricked beyond your geek IQ. You can switch to a slider phone from a touchscreen phone to type über-long email. If you have a 4G LTE MiFi/Hotspot line, you can insert the 4G sim card into a phone that you bought full price and have an Android-powered iPod Touch Killer; of course you can’t make calls or text via VZW’s network doing this because the 4G sim for the MiFi/Hotspot is not provisioned for voice/texts…but that’s what Google Voice takes care of. You can then buy a prepaid phone with unlimited everything for cheap, or just get a couple of minutes if you don’t talk much, and then pull out your “Adroid Touch” iPod Touch Killer when you need to keep your fix. The primary reason to buy a phone at full retail value is to be free of contracts. If you already have a line on contract you can upgrade at full retail value going from a contract plan to a month-to-month no contract plan that you can cancel at any time to pay a subsidized price for the phone that you just have to have in the future. The keyword is options; buying a phone at retail value allows you to breathe easy.

          • Anonymous

            All of that, except being free from contract, is the same whether you buy at full price or at the 2 year discounted price.

          • Cb2000a

            I would not mind buying one at retail if Verizon gave a discount (like T Mobile) on the plans. Buying one at full retail and then getting screwed at full rates is what I object to.

        • Anonymous

          If your contract isn’t up yet, or you don’t want to lose unlimited data, you don’t have much of a choice…

          • Anonymous

            You are grandfathered into unlimited data whether you upgrade at discounted price or switch to a new phone that you buy at full retail.

            The advantage would be what Kleendroid said or if you don’t want to be locked into a contract you can buy it at full retail.

        • Or if your work pays your monthly bill for you but refuses to buy you the latest and greatest phone 🙂

        • Letmehelp

          No contract..

    • bigrob60

      One last new every two discount left. Nexus will be getting it.

    • bigrob60

      One last new every two discount left. Nexus will be getting it.

      • Tyrian

        Do you still have the $100 credit? I used to for awhile but noticed it dropped down to $50 after they got rid of them.

        • bigrob60

          I think just 50 now. 150 on some phones but, like I’m going buy them w/ the Nexus coming.

        • Joe Ewbank

          Call and talk to them.  Be adamant but polite, and ask to be escalated to retention if you need to.  I did this  in July, and they gave me the full discount price – I just have to call them to get my next phone, rather than get it in-store or via the web site.

          • Emaca11

            I did this with VZW just before i switched to Sprint.  They offered me the full discount, even though I was just over a year on my first contract, to stay but I didn’t like any of the phones at the time and the OG was pretty much my kids angry birds machine.  

          • nailbombTHREE

            Can you describe what you mean by ‘retention’? I’ve never heard they had a policy like that….

          • jason6g

            customer retention. the department that has a set amount of money they can discount to keep customers. more of a triage for who is worth more. businesses, family plans, vs a single line no frills or a prepaid subscriber. this department has a bit more clout to offer discounts than the regular customer service rep. just know they dont give freebies, they are more so there to help correct some “wrongs” big red may have jipped you on – ie upgrade credits.

          • Jason Purp

            How do I make sure that I reach this department and not a regular rep?

            I really don’t want to pay full retail for this phone if I don’t need to. I probably won’t have enough money. Will they help me out or something? Do I need to make something up?

            I’ve gotten reps to give me phones at upgrade price before, because of legitimate problems, but now it’s just that I can’t pay full price.

          • Stormin Norman

            That’s not how it works.  You don’t get the discount just because you know the name of the department.

          • Anonymous

            It’s the department you are sent to when you threaten to leave.  There job is to make you stay.

          • nailbomb3

            Thank you sir!

        • jason6g

          sounds to me like a line on your account used the upgrade credit. they were at 100 & 50, then 50 & nothing. pretty sneaky as most people did not notice the change.

          my opinion, if the cellphone plans were cheaper when buying full retail i would be happy. this way those that wish to have a new phone more often may at their discretion, and those who tactfully “upgrade” may do so with some form of strategy and be happy knowing that compared to now they are saving money. at least makes sense for those who keep their contracts after they expire to receive a discount. consider it loyalty

        • Anonymous

          on sprint mine is 75 then 150

      • Blootzm3

        I’d pay full price on a nexus, but never on a Motorola. gotta be an idiot to pay retail for bug filled phones ie: Motorola.

        • Anonymous

          Seriously…. MOTO fudges up the android experience like no other; ie Blur.

        • None of my motorola phones have been “buggy”. I just wish the bootloader was unlocked

        • Edaking

          thats freaking retarted, NEVER would i pay $300 for a smartphone.  In my opinion it is not worth 300 on a 2 year contract.  what do you think will come out in the middle of those 2 years, something better right? maybe even the same price or at the rate these guys are going more expensive, im sorry but no cell phone is worth $300 thats just crazy, they need to price them at a fair price! im starting to think that the manufacturers that use android are starting to be a lot like apple and over price everything!! honestly i would rather wait till someone makes a ROM thats based off of ice cream sandwitch, and use it on my p.o.s thunderbolt and save myself 300 and buy something thats worth that price.

    • I don’t have an upgrade so that is why I am buying at full retail

    • Jikhead

      Not this time.  I did that for my Droid Incredible because I wanted it so bad and was only a year into my contract.  No need this time, and I get a extra $30 off plus a free months of service w/my 2yr. agreement.

    • Anonymous

      I think I am prepared for the eye watering price

    • Drayphly

      Me!!  I always buy full priced unlocked phones.

      • Anonymous

        If you are buying your devices full priced on a major carrier in the US then your just paying extra to be able to move to a different carrier whenever you desire, which, since all 4 of the major carriers have, for the most part, incompatible hardware is a useless option.

        Just about any phone you take from AT&T won’t do 3G AWS on Tmo, neither Sprint nor VZW are interchangeable at all and obviously don’t work with GSM based phones. 

        So your paying extra for a phantom benefit.

        I suppose I should be happy people like you are out there paying extra, you help to keep my cell phone bill down to some extent.

        About the only way buying retail could be beneficial is if you put your device on a lower tier carrier like Page Plus or Boost, though there are lots of caveats with that, especially regarding data limits.

        • Jey Wright

          I agree with you completely. I’m on Page Plus which is actually a VZW subsidiary and the voice service ids great, BUT they rape on the data plan though. What the hell is 20MB of data on a $44.95 unlimited text & voice plan? But if you get the 2000 minutes and unlimited text at least they give you 100 MB. Still ain’t dick if you want use the full extent of your smartphone.

          So many of us spoke up about the locked boot-loader on smart-phones, now they’re kissing our asses and some companies ( Thanks HTC) built some without them being locked to please us. Perhaps if we raise enough hell and picket in front of Big Red and the other wireless carries like the 1% that’s staking out Wall Street, we may have a chance to get what we want.

          In reality, they built these devices knowing full well we all cannot wait to screw up our credits and go broke buying the freshest device that come screaming out of the gates of technologies bosom. Hell, who wouldn’t want a Galaxy Nexus? I got wood just by looking at its debut the other night, not to mention the replay value YouTube is getting because of them. The “higher ups” knows exactly what they’re doing and they’re playing us all like a hooker on whore’s row with these absurd device prices.

          To make it plain: Any new device (4G-7G) should be no more than $199 her device. Let the manufacturers recoup their funds via the wireless carriers. No human should pay more than what each device is worth. Wireless service with NO contract should be no more than $80 per moth for unlimited talk, text & web. Why in the hell should anybody keep scores on text & MMS usage anyway? Who does this?

    • Anonymous

      That’s The CRACK !!!!  ANDROID CRACK THAT IS !!!! 😛

    • Anonymous

      I will be.  Is it still going to be $549?  Please tell me yes as I just sold my DX on ebay and am now using my wife’s old BB Curve.

    • Graham Cluck


    • jbonics

      idiots guide to buy a smartphone: you buy a new smartphone, before it is a year old sell it (metro PCS pays top dollar, online a little less. $100-$150.) THEN go buy that new phone online for $199-$299 (same price as w/2yr. contract……..if you cant find a nexus prime for $299 off contract your a tard) make sure its a quality website and the phone is unlocked

  • yeah…i agree.  I want my galaxy nexus very bad.  I’m not sure if I will have enough money though…200 I could swing without even thinking about it.  but bump it up past that and I have a real problem allowing myself to splurge

  • research and development is pretty expensive

    • Anonymous

      I also think that the cost quoted do not included the cost to assembly components and deal with broken ones.

      It assumes the cost of the phone is just the cost of the individual pieces.

  • manderko

    I would say the “magical” $199 price tag is a fair price for a phone that costs 150-200 to make. And off-contract price is to entice people to be ON contract. I remember paying hundreds of dollars for a Sony Clie PDA. We are paying hundreds of dollars for computing capabilities that were non-existent only a few years ago. There are cheap phones, I suggest you get one of those

    • Anonymous

      Wow, you brought me baaaack with that one… It was my first PDA, because I hated palm pilots!

  • Bradley

    “These prices are absurd, why do we continue to buy into them?”comma splice

  • Tom Luley

    A smartphone is something you use probably more than everything in one day. I think even $300 is worth it to be honest, especially since its for 2 years of use…I use my phone way more than my Xbox, laptop, or even TV.

  • Foamposite0o1

    Valid point. Cell phones are ridiculously over-priced when you compare it to those other items that costs much less.

    • Billy Jenkins

      but those other items that cost much less also aren’t used as much as a smartphone. Most people who own a smartphone tend to use their smartphone alot more then anything else in their house. When you are inside alot of people text or call using their smartphone. They even browse the internet or play games or listen to their music using their smartphone. Some even do all that while using a video game console or watching tv. But then when you leave your house you can still text, call, brose the internet, play games, or listen to music. Its alot easier to carry a 4 inch phone outside then it would be to carry a video game console and even use it while walking around since that would require a tv and something to plug them both into for power. Thats why phones released in 2011 cost more then game consoles released 5-6 years ago.

      • Anonymous

        You can’t justify pricing something based on the number of ways it can be used. If that were the case, your car, or even a space shuttle, should cost less than your phone.

        • Billy Jenkins

          no because cars and space shuttles can do something that a phone will never be able to do. which is transport u anywhere on the planet and alot quicker then walking. but even some cars have some of the same features that smartphones have like a gps an mp3 radio, and even a built in phone with bluetooth. some cars that cost extra even have built in tv screens with dvd players. and a space shuttle is so expensive that it isn’t even sold in stores because it has the biggest use ever. which is transportation to space which is more then enough to cost thousands or even millions. so yes I can justify pricing something based on the number of ways it can be used. If they released an android phone with no physical buttons except a power button and the only touch screen button was used to make calls and it didnt do anything else then u think it would sell or even cost as much as the Bionic or droid 3? Probably not since the bionic and droid 3 can do tons more then a phone with only 1 button and 1 feature.

        • DismalScientist

          Econ 101: In a perfectly competitive market, the price of products is marginal cost plus the (small) average rate of return. The utility of a product is irrelevant, when multiple firms can enter the market and compete prices down to marginal cost.

          Corrollary: The mobile market is very far from a perfectly competitive market. The PC market is much closer to the market of economic theory, with low margins/markups.

  • They are arguably the most useful electronic device one buys, no?  Camera, planner, phone, pocket dictionary/thesaurus, gps, kindle, etc…

  • Anonymous

    So you promise you’ll pre-order for 300 bucks the moment it becomes available and yet you ask us why we continue to buy them?

    Though I think mobile phone prices are exorbitant.. I believe there are other things that factor in. Today’s mobile phone replaces a bunch of devices.. I see it as we paying a premium for the luxury for having a one-in-all device.

    More than the device itself.. we should think about how these carriers are screwing us because in reality it costs the carriers A FRACTION of what they charge us.. to upkeep their airwaves and make a decent profit.. and yet they screw us every which way.

  • Mr ilheis

    We do it to be connected and on the bleeding edge of technology. Supply vs. Demand

  • Anonymous