Lesson Learned: When is a Phone a Smartphone under PrePaid?
After some close review, I think I found the answer to: "When is a Phone a Smartphone under Prepaid (relative to the mandated, extra-cost, data feature plans)?"
Is it one of:
QWERTY keypad (full or virtual)?
GPS capability, either assisted (A-GPS) or standard?
Any combo of the above?
The answer is no. It is not.
Guess again: The answer is the Operating System.
If it is one of Android, iOS, Blackberry, Microsoft Windows Mobile 7, then the answer is YES, it is a smartphone, relative to the mandated data feature plans.
Otherwise it is not a smartphone, and it is covered by the unlimited $50-month talk/text/data plan.
All the examples I looked at validate this conclusion. There might be some stragglers that do not fit perfectly. like HTC phones that are double boot: Windows Mobile 6.1, originally, and Android on a second boot ROM.
A perfect example of this is shown by the Samsung phones marketed by AT&T (pre-paid or post-paid):
The Samsung Strive, Samsung Solistice II, Samsung Eternity II, and Samsung Flight all have proprietary OSes and all are not smartphones for the purpose of the extra-cost data feature plans.
However, the Samsung Captivate which is an Android 2.1 phone is a smartphone relative to the data feature plan.
And this distinction is really an artificial one, as the Developer Forum for AT&T phones (http://developer.att.com ) assumes all these Samsung phones to be Smartphones, even though all but one in this list have proprietary kernels.
I think this artificial distinction is what has many folks super confused. It had me for a while.