The $99 iPhone Is James Bond. The Other $99 Phones Are Joe Schmoe.

aapicture-26While it’s not being talked about too much, the $99 iPhone 3G is a very interesting play by Apple. It takes what was previously a just out-of-reach device for many, and puts it at a magical price-point. Sure, it still won’t sell everyone, like the people who only care about getting the phone that their carrier is offering for free, or those looking for the cheapest possible monthly plans. But just look at the iPhone compared to the other $99 phones out there.

That’s what we did. And originally we set out to compare the various specs. But looking them over, it’s really a joke. And you can basically see all you need to see simply by looking at the devices being offering by the major carriers in the U.S. at this price point.

Of course, there are legitimate iPhone competitors out there, namely the Palm Pre and the soon-to-be-released T-Mobile myTouch 3G. But the Pre sells for $199 (or $299 before rebate) and the myTouch will also cost you $199. That’s iPhone 3GS territory now. This $99 range is a whole different ball game.

When I looked at the $99 phones, I started to think of a high school reunion. Some show up as successful business people, some as boring cookie-cutter suburbanites, some as fat, overweight slobs. And that’s fine. But then there’s that one person who shows up and makes everyone else look worse. Everyone there has something in common (in this case, the high school), but you wouldn’t know it just by looking at this one James Bond-type in the full tuxedo while everyone else is wearing rags. In my opinion, that’s kind of like the $99 iPhone 3G compared to the other $99 phones out there.

Let’s take a look.

AT&T’s $99 Offerings:


James Bond.


The successful business guy. Kind of pudgy, pretty boring.


The less successful but skinnier business guy. A pencilneck.


The guy who thinks he’s James Bond, but bought his tux at the thrift store — and it’s blue.


The guy wearing his clothes from when you were still in high school.


That odd foreign exchange student that no one still wants to talk to even though he’s popular in Europe.


Some crazy-looking dude.


A total square.


That guy who just got out of rehab.

T-Mobile’s $99 Offerings:


The girl was popular in high school but now is just kind of ugly, and oddly shaped.


Another business guy. Bland. Has his family on his “Fave 5” though.


The short, fat guy with the shiny large head.

Verizon’s $99 Offerings:


Spunky, ditzy, short girl. No one took her seriously then, no one takes her seriously now.


The dude who’s really into guns.


The guy who’s trying too hard.


Again, nice suit — in 1999.


Wanna-be hipster.


The short sidekick of the wanna-be hipster.


Oh God. Don’t talk to this one.

Sprint’s $99 Offerings:


The ugly duckling.


The homeless guy. Hasn’t bathed in months.


Had a bunch of kids at 19. Now divorced and wears bold colors to stand out — which doesn’t work.


Business guy with a big chin and a square head.


The girl with the Coke-bottle thick glasses.


The former high school star quarterback. Still loves sports, but is between crappy jobs.

[Thanks Cameron]