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Don't tell noobs: Site for gently used Android gear

Swappa provides a place where geeks can buy and sell Android gear without having to deal with the folks who think a Snapdragon looks great in a vase.

Swappa's site
Screenshot by CNET

Buying a used smartphone online can be a little bit like looking for a used car by walking down random streets in a bad part of town.

Actually, it might be a little bit worse. These days everyone knows how to use eBay or Craigslist, but there's no guarantee that any of those people know how to use the phone they're selling, let alone provide the vital specs..."Does it have a Snapdragon process what? Hold on, I'll see if the wife has any in the flower garden..."

The antidote? Last we checked, the online marketplace for gently used, functional Android devices was a one-man show, started in December by Ben Edwards of Kansas City, Mo.

Edwards was in love with Android, sick and tired of eBay, and needed something to do when he wasn't busy learning obscure scripting languages.

As you might expect, Swappa is a bit of a geek-out. If you aren't serious about smartphones, you're probably better off hanging out on eBay and sorting through the hundreds of used flip-phone chargers to find what you want. But if you're looking for a rooted Evo, or a Droid that's overclocked to 1100MHz, then Swappa is going to be a much better bet than slumming the e-resale ghetto.

The ground rules for what can be sold on Swappa are straightforward, and frankly, a relief for anyone who's ever dealt with the hassle of trying to return a used item:

All devices are fully functional.
All devices have clean ESN/MEIDs (have not been reported lost or stolen).
All devices are free of water damage and screen cracks.
All listings include shipping costs and other fees.

Swappa makes its share off a $10 fee per transaction, which is paid by the buyer. In most cases, the fee will be a better deal for the seller than eBay fees. The familiar "featured item" promotion scheme is also available for a little more green.

Now if I could just find a similar market for Windows Mobile 6.2 phones...