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Culture

Amazon hooks up wireless store

Amazon unveils AmazonWireless, a new site that offers cell phones and service plans from popular cell phone carriers.

Dong Ngo/CNET

If you want to quickly buy a phone, or just check out what AT&T and Verizon Wireless have to offer, it just got a little more convenient.

Amazon announced Thursday its beta launch of AmazonWireless, a new Web site that offers cell phones and service plans from, for now, AT&T and Verizon Wireless. The online store features Amazon-style shopping, without the rebate hassles that cell phone carriers are notorious for, and free two-day shipping on a large selection of phones.

During this beta-testing phase, Amazon plans to expand the selection of phones and services as well as add carriers. It will also be testing features and gathering input from customers.

According to Paul Ryder, Amazon's vice president of consumer electronics, AmazonWireless is designed for both existing cell phone customers who want to upgrade and those who want start a cell phone service.

AmazonWireless currently offers more than 120 phones, including a large selection of high-end smartphones, as well as the latest budget models. Customers can use their existing Amazon accounts to upgrade their phones or shop by carrier, phone feature, price, color, and brand. You'll also find other familiar Amazon features, such as bestseller lists, product descriptions, and customer reviews.

It's important to note that not every phone offered by the carriers is listed. For example, I checked for the iPhone 3GS just now and it wasn't even mentioned.