Virgin Mobile is as innovative in the cell phone business as Virgin Airlines is in the transportation business. You can thank the ever creative Sir Richard Branson for that. Just how innovative? Consider the Switch_Back phone. I'll bet you've never seen anything like it.
The Virgin Mobile Switch_Back (yes, that's the way it's spelled. There's an underscore in there) is a highly styled candybar phone that flips open lengthwise to reveal a complete messaging center.
It's not hard to tell who this phone is designed to please. This machine is for the serious text, AIM and email messengers among us. You get a full QWERTY keyboard, navigation pad, and a generous color main display that measures 160 x 128 pixels. It displays over 65,000 colors for easy, clear viewing.
You also get a VGA quality digital camera with flash and timer. It's the right resolution to capture those spontaneous moments and share them via multimedia messaging. Standard SMS messaging is also supported with pre-created messaging templates and eZiText for predictive text entry. eZiText will display entire words after you type just enough letters for the phone to predict the word you have in mind.
Instant messaging? You bet. AOL Instant Messenger comes built-in. You also get an email client and mobile Web browser.
Just looking at the Switch_Back open and ready for messaging, it's easy to forget that you also have a cell phone. Close the case of your Switch_Back and you're holding a sculpted black candybar phone with silver trim. All the buttons you need for standard cellular operation are right at your fingertips. You also have an external display that measures 128 x 128 pixels and has the same resolution as the main display.
This phone has a built-in speakerphone for hands-free operation, advanced voice activated dialing that requires no pretraining of the phone, customizable ringtones, wallpapers and graphics, plus a 500 contact phone book with up to 6 entries per contact plus email and street address. Talk time is up to 180 minutes or 3 hours. Standby time is up to 152 hours or over 6 days. All this in a very cool package that measures just 4.3 x 2 x 1 inches and weighs-in at 4.1 ounces.
The uniqueness of the Switch_Back is matched only by the uniqueness of Virgin Mobile service. Normally, when you order a cell phone you select the minutes plan you want and then agree to a 2 year commitment for those service terms. Your order is subject to passing a credit check before your phone is shipped. If you don't pass the stringent credit check, you can't have the phone or service.
Virgin Mobile is completely different. You order your phone online with a credit card. It's immediately shipped to you with free 2 day delivery and your new Virgin Mobile account. What about the contract?
Contract? There is no contract.
So, what's the story on service? With Virgin Mobile, you are on a pay as you go basis. You can pay by the minute, pay by the text message, or pay by the month. You also get to decide if you want to control when money is added to your account or have your credit card charged automatically so you don't forget. There are lots of different rates available depending on how many, if any, minutes or messages you want to commit to per month. Long distance and roaming charges? You've got to be kidding. Domestic long distance and roaming in "Virgin" territory is included. No extra charge for these.
If those aren't enough choices or you'd really like a regular contractual plan with a great deal on a cell phone, find exactly what you are looking for at Cell Phone Plans Finder.