Contrary to popular (well OK, just my) knowledge STi's first walkie-talkie capable phone isn't the excellent Sanyo VI-2300. But life's still good...
If you're wondering what the hotlink in the title is, that's the phone that will very soon be on STi's website. No clue as to how much it will cost there but I know it's coming and that it supports ReadyLink and STi does too.
You're probably wanting to know how much ReadyLink is per day. Surprise! Not as much as I had heard well over a month ago. Though the upcoming ReadyLink fee doesn't include web access (it can be added though) or picture messaging (a nonissue as the current capable phone doesn't have a camera), it's also really cheap comapred to, say, Boost Mobile ($1.50 per day that an outgoing walkie call is made) or the previously-supposed price (79 cents a day including web). Ready? It's 49 cents a day!
Granted, ReadyLink doesn't have nearly as many subscribers as there are Nextel and Boost Mobile customers, nor is it as fast as iDEN walkie talkie usually is (there are exceptions where iDEN connection times unexplicable soar to more than a second, or even two, but anyway...) but the voice quality is better, your walkie number is your phone number, and the price is dirt cheap for prepaid. True, contract subscribers get this feature for $10 a month, but with STi you can turn it on and off and on contract plans the $10 gets another $2 or so of taxes and fees added. Oh, and if you wanted to compare apples to apples, a 30-day month of STi walkie service is $14.70.
Now to the phone, the Samsung A820. This is one of the larger flip phones in the Sprint lineup, but not obnoxiously so (referencing any iDEN phone besides the i830, i833 or i835). In design one could almost mistake it for a Sanyo, with a prominent speakerphone grill on the front of the phone complemented by a gargantuan, though black-and-white, external display that has more resolution than the display on a Nokia 6010 or 2126. Inside, the phone looks very good as well. Oh, and did I mention that this phone is so recent that the Sprint version had the new logo exclusively on it? Battery life is average to good, voice dialing is good, and the speakerphone is good. Anything else to want in a midrange phone with walkie talkie and no camera? Again, I don't know the price as of right now but I will know soon and if it's cheap enough with rebate I'm getting it, since if I turn walkie talkie service off the maitenance cost is near nil.
By the way, STi customer service (aka 611) is a lot faster now. At one point I was waiting 15 to 20 minutes for a representative. Now the wait is generally less than a minute. Thanks for hiring more reps STi!
Another by the way, I hope CheapPhoneCards gets this phone. In fact, I think I'll only buy it if they get it. Anyway, I'm glad this hunk of push-to-talk plastic is coming out, giving prepaid some competition in that area.