iPhones are great, but they're not for everybody. If you're looking for the next best thing from a carrier other than AT&T, I recommend the Palm Pre. Though Palm recently cut the price to $149.99, Wirefly has the Pre for just $99.99 shipped.
That's for new Sprint customers and with a two-year service agreement, of course. (If you're already a Sprint customer, you can get the Pre for $139.99 with a two-year contract extension.)
I'm not going to run down the Pre's features and all that; you can watch CNET's video review or head over to.
I will, however, give you my take on the phone, as I've been living with one for a couple months--and writing a book about it. (Don't ask me why the cover photo doesn't look like a Pre. I'm trying to get that fixed.)
I like the Pre a lot. It's much more compact and pocket-friendly than the iPhone, and the way it autosyncs data with Google, Facebook, and the like is just fantastic.
Palm has been slow to get its app store up and running, but there's already a solid selection of apps and an even larger library of homebrew titles.
The WebOS interface is terrific, and I love being able to quickly switch between multiple running apps (the iPhone still can't multitask).
On the downside, battery life bites, podcast handling is terrible, and iTunes syncing is broken again. (With any luck, Palm will fix those last two problems with the next OS update.)
At $99.99, the 8GB Pre is price-competitive with the 8GB iPhone 3G. You'll have to pay $69.99 monthly for voice and data, but that includes unlimited data (i.e. no extra charge for text messaging) and Sprint's new Any Mobile, Anytime deal (unlimited calling to and from any mobile phone).
Over the long haul, you'll spend a bit less on the Pre than you would on an iPhone (especially if you're a heavy texter).
Well? Who's in? I think anyone in the market for an iPhone alternative should give the Pre a serious look--and I say that not as someone who's shamelessly self-promoting his book (now available for preorder!), but as someone who uses both phones. The Pre is a terrific little device, and $99.99 is a terrific price.