AT&T Jumps On Cheap Smartphone Bandwagon

Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini will be available for 99 cents with a two-year contract.
Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
Samsung's New Gadgets: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
AT&T is jumping on the bandwagon of carriers offering deep discounts on smartphones. It announced Wednesday that it will offer Samsung's Galaxy S III Mini smartphone beginning on Sept. 27 for 99 cents with the purchase of a two-year contract with voice and data plans. The phone can be preordered on the AT&T site starting Thursday.

The Galaxy S III Mini was released in November 2012 and carries many of the features of Samsung's Galaxy S III, but in a smaller package. It is a 4G LTE smartphone with a 4" Super AMOLED display that lends itself to one-handed use. It comes with a 1.2-GHz dual-core processor, 1 GB of internal RAM and a 5-megapixel camera. It runs on Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean).

The phone also comes with popular Galaxy features including S Beam, which allows you to share files by tapping two smartphones together, and S Voice, which lets you use your voice to unlock the phone, control volume or launch the camera. With Group Play, you can play music in surround sound and share files with other Galaxy devices.

[ AT&T isn't the only carrier offering smartphone discounts. Read: iPhone 5c Free With Sprint's $100 Discount. ]

The Galaxy S III Mini also features Smart Stay, which uses eye-tracking technology to keep the screen lit as long as you're looking at it. The Motion Menu contains options for configuring gesture controls. You can call someone by lifting the phone to your ear, or zoom by tilting the phone and moving it closer to, or farther from, your body.

AT&T's decision to offer the phone for 99 cents follows the trend of carriers making smartphones less expensive. In addition to Sprint's $100 discount on smartphones for new customers, Walmart recently announced that it will be offering discounts on the new iPhone 5c and 5s.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing