You'll notice two things about T-Mobile's new Sparq messaging phone.
The first is that you have to suffer through a "q" in the product's name instead of a "k" as there should be. The second is that the phone is made by Alcatel, which so far has made barely a dent in the U.S. market.
Though the company always shows up at U.S. wireless confabs like CTIA--usually with a bizarre cell phone "fashion show"--this is the first time that it's landed a device at a major carrier. And by all accounts, the Sparq is a modest start.
Also called the Alcatel One Touch, the Sparq has a slider design with a full QWERTY keyboard. Features are built around connectivity and shy away from fancy bells and whistles. You'll find a Bluetooth, an FM radio, 32MBof internal memory, a VGA camera, a microSD card slot, text messaging, and a music player.
The Sparq is available for $79.99 with T-Mobile's prepaid, no-contract service.