Here's what $30 gets you these days with MetroPCS: the super-simple Huawei Pal candy bar cell phone.
Bearing a 1.8-inch screen, the Pal offers 5.5 hours of talk time and up to 14.5 days of standby time on its 800mAh battery. The 3G phone has a BREW backbone for its OS, and a 230MHz processor that should be sufficient for making calls and composing texts.
In terms of apps, you'll find a WAP browser, essential personal organizer tools like a calendar, calculator, and alarms, and plenty of MetroPCS account management apps.
MetroPCS sells the Pal off-contract.