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The 411: Where are the prepaid GSM Android phones?

Every two weeks, CNET editor Nicole Lee answers your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories in The 411.

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
3 min read

Welcome to the 411, my column answering all your questions about cell phones and cell phone accessories. I receive plenty of questions about these subjects via e-mail, so I figured many of you might have similar queries, too. At times, I might solicit answers from readers if I'm stumped. Send your questions and comments to me at nicole.lee@cnet.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, let me know in the e-mail.

Question: Which prepaid GSM Android phone and carriers would you recommend? -- mr maund, via e-mail

T-Mobile Comet
The T-Mobile Comet is the only GSM Android phone available for prepaid. T-Mobile

Surprisingly, there really aren't that many GSM Android phones that are available prepaid. There are only two GSM carriers here in the U.S.--AT&T and T-Mobile--and the only Android phone that we could find on a prepaid plan was the T-Mobile Comet, a relatively basic Android handset. It's priced at $119.99 without a contract.

The other prepaid Android phones--the LG Optimus V, Optimus M, and Huawei Ascend, for example--are on CDMA networks like Virgin Mobile and MetroPCS. Verizon also offers several of its high-end Android phones under its prepaid plan. If you need to get a GSM Android phone, then your only option is the aforementioned T-Mobile Comet. If you're willing to switch to a CDMA carrier, you have many more options.

I am thinking about buying a Samsung Galaxy S to replace my Nokia N85. What is the best way to transfer my contacts from the Nokia to the Samsung? The Symbian OS allows a lot of contact data to be stored, but I have never found it easy to export all the stored data, even to Outlook or Google contacts--so I am quite anxious about how I should do it when I switch phones. -- chana, via e-mail

There are a few ways to transfer contacts from the Nokia N85 to an Android phone like the Samsung Galaxy S. One is to simply back up your entire phone book to your phone's SIM card, and then transfer that same SIM card to your new phone. That may or may not work for you, depending whether you're sticking with the same carrier or transferring to a new one.

Another option you might want to try is to back up your Nokia information to Google via Google Sync for mobile. There's a specific set of instructions for Nokia phones too. If any of our readers have more ideas, please let us know in the comments.

Hi. I like your reviews and would like your opinion on the best or 2 of the best choices for a messaging phone for AT&T...no data plan...I am looking at the Pantech Link or Pursuit. Any others you would suggest? I just need a simple, fast texting phone with good call quality and speakerphone...thank you. -- khi via e-mail

Between the Pantech Link and the Pursuit, the Pursuit has the slightly better specs--a touch-screen interface, a slide-out keyboard, a 2-megapixel camera, and a more attractive design. But if all you want is a simple messaging phone, then the Link might be the better choice, as it has a much more straightforward interface for texting. I would also take a look at the Pantech Laser and the Samsung Strive--those two also make for decent messaging handsets.