With around 50 new Android handsets set for a 2010 release, users will have plenty of options for a new device. Choice, for the most part, represents a positive consumer development. In the mobile space, however, we see a bit of downside. This comes in the form of two-year contracts. Customers receive a discounted price on a handset, which can cost up to $500 otherwise, when they sign a two-year agreement. While this provides a cheaper handset, it also typically precludes a user from upgrading again for at least another 20 months. This two-year contract span can make it difficult to select a device. What if you choose wrong, and a better device comes out a year later? With so many Android handsets set to ship in 2010, that becomes an even bigger question. Surely we’ll see a ton of new, and better, models in 2011 as well. So do you buy now, or do you wait? If we see more promotions like the one Verizon will begin running later this week, the choice might become a bit easier.
Click for larger This image, which comes from GizmoFusion, outlines the way you can not only get an early upgrade on a Verizon handset, but also wipe your contract slate clean. As long as you haven’t used a special promotion to upgrade within the last 12 months, you can select a new handset, get the two-year contract pricing, and walk away with a contract that extends only 24 months into the future. In other words, Verizon is willing to give you a discounted handset and essentially throw away your old contract. Seems like a good time to get an Incredible. Again, this acts as signing a new contract and removing your old one. Your New Every 2 clock and upgrade eligibility reset to the full 20 months, and your new contract end date is 24 months from the time of the agreement. It also means you cannot upgrade for another 12 months, even if Verizon runs this promotion again. The risk, of course, is that Verizon runs this at an earlier time next year, which would exclude anyone who took advantage of this promotion. Or they might not run it at all. But with so many high end handsets hitting the marketplace, Verizon does need to offer their customers an incentive to buy. Apparently they’re willing to go so far as to rip up your old contract and replace it with a new one.