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T-Mobile Comet sends $9.99 shot across the bow of dumbphones

Chris Ziegler
The argument used to be that carriers' higher pricing for smartphone data plans were what kept them out of the low end, regardless of the upfront on-contract cost -- but now that T-Mobile has rolled out a 200MB / $10 package, phones like the Comet -- a T-Mobile branded version of the Huawei Ideos announced at IFA -- might actually pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of dumbphones everywhere. Why's that? Well, the carrier will be charging a ridiculously low $9.99 on contract after $50 rebate for it, featuring 7.2Mbps HSPA, FM radio, integrated Swype, microSD expansion up to 32GB, and 802.11b / g / n atop Froyo; in fact, the only immediately-obvious downside to it is that it's got just a 2.8-inch QVGA display. As you might recall, Huawei worked closely with Google to design the Ideos as an Android device for the masses, and we came away with a pretty positive impression with it when we checked it out at IFA -- so we're bullish that this thing is going to make some waves in its Comet guise. It launches on November 3 -- and you'll be able to get it in prepaid guise through some third-party retailers for "less than $200."