Here's a good deal for PagePlus users or anyone who would like a modern smartphone for under $50 that can be used on the Verizon network for as little as $2.50/month.
Verizon recently discontinued the Palm Pixi+ and either they or HP/Palm have dumped a large number (I heard as many as 5000) of brand new Palm Pixi+ phones on the secondary market. They are easy to find on eBay, Amazon and Internet for between $35 and $50 including shipping. Click to check the current price on Amazon.com.
What you get with the Pixi+ is a tiny QWERTY touch-screen smartphone with full-web browser, push email, a great built in Facebook client, MP3 player with standard 3.5 mm headphone jack, Bluetooth and WiFi. PagePlus charges $79.99 for an older model refurbished QWERTY dumbphone and used Verizon smartphones typically run $100 or more on Ebay. So getting a brand new smartphone for $63 is a great deal. For such a small phone the keyboard is remarkably good. I can type much faster and more accurately on the Pixi+ than with the much larger keyboard on my Boost Mobile Motorola Rambler.
These are Verizon phones. Activating them on Verizon will cost you a $35/month activation fee and require you to pay a minimum of about $80 per/month (cheapest voice plan $39.99 + mandatory $29.99 data plan + about $10 in "taxes and fees").
Of course prepaid users have a better way. You can activate the Pixi+ on PagePlus, a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that uses the Verizon network.
Activation on PagePlus is free if you call them to activate ($10 if you activate online). Or you can activate though a PagePlus dealer and get a $2 call credit. I use and recommend Kitty Wireless which charges $6.99 for online activations. Kitty's activations are processed 24/7 and typically only take about five minutes.
- PagePlus has three plans to choose from:
- $29.95/month for 1200 minutes talk (overage $0.05/min), 3000 texts (overage $0.05/each) and 100 MB of data (overage $0.10/MB)
- $44.95/month for unlimited talk and text and 20 MB of data (overage $0.15/MB
- Standard Plan (pay as you go); the minimum payment is $10 every 120 days, $0.04-$0.10/ min voice, $0.05/per text, $0.99/MB data. There's a $0.50/month service charge on the Standard Plan only.
As an experiment I browsed mobile sites exclusively for about an hour on my Pixi+ and was charged $3.66. I'm on the Standard Plan. The same amount of browsing at the Unlimited and 1200 plans who have been free using the included data or about $0.45 at the overage rate.
It's easy to turn cellular data on and off on the Pixi+ (instructions below). Whichever Pageplus plan you use I recommend turning cellular data off on the Pixi+ and using WiFi wherever possible. You can turn data on as needed to pull up a Google Map in an emergency or to send or receive a picture message.
It's pretty easy to activate a Pixi+ on PagePlus. I activated mine on a new Pay As You Go account by doing the following.
- I had Kitty Wireless activate the phone on PagePlus. It cost me $4.99 to activate (the current price is $6.99) but I got $2 in free call credit. PagePlus will activate phones for free if you call them but you don't get any call credit and hold times can be long. Plus you need about 50 cents on the phone to activate and the minimum refill PIN is $10 so using Kitty gets you up and running cheaper.
- To activate you will need the phone's MEID code (it's on the box) and the zip code you want you new number in.
- Wait until activation is complete. Mine took about five minutes and I got an email with my new number
- Turn on the Pixi+. Select English (or your desired language) when prompted.
- The phone will offer to activate on Verizon. Ignore that request.
- Click the option to make a call and then chose "Emergency Call"
- Delete the pre-populated "911" from the dialer screen, enter the PagePlus activation number of *22890 and tap the call icon. You will hear "Please wait while we activate your phone...". Don't hang up until it tells you that activation was successful. (It takes about two minutes).
- Once the activation completes, repeat the process of selecting Call, then Emergency Call, and deleting 911. But this time enter a regular 10 digit phone number. You will be prompted to choose your voice mail language and told your prepaid balance and then the called number will ring. You can hang up if you want. Don't skip this step. You must make an outgoing call to complete your activation.
- Restart the phone and setup your Palm Profile (a valid email address is required).
- A brief tutorial will start. Don't skip it, it only takes a couple of minutes and is the easiest way to learn the basis of using the Pixi+.
To disable data, click the phone dialer (phone icon on the home screen), tap where it says Verizon Wireless at the top of the screen then select Preferences and and scroll down to and tap "Data Usage" to turn it off.
If you get stuck there are lots of resources on the web. Some of my favorites are:
Kitty Wireless' Pixi Plus support page
The HowardForums PagePlus Forum
The Kitty Wireless Forum's Pixi Plus section
Palm's official support page for new users
The forums at PreCentral.net (the leading independent Palm WebOS online site)
All the closeout Pixi+ phones I've seen are the Verizon CDMA model. They will not work on AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile or any other operator except Verizon or Verizon MVNOs like PagePlus. If you just want to use the phone on Wifi, it's possible to bypass activation Using some developer utilities and a PC. Details on on the Palm Developer site.