It's hard to say exactly what rate phones are releasing. It's at least a few per month and certainly up from last year. It's increasingly hard to keep up with, especially because they're all so similar. But I'm not complaining, it means business is booming and, lucky for you guys and gals, there are plenty of reviews to be written and recorded.

It also means more phones are inevitably going to flop. Devices are already a hit-or-miss. Each time you sign two years of your life away and swipe your card for a new phone, you're taking a slight gamble. Generally, the only resource buyers have to go by prior to their next phone purchase is the carrier representative's word and ... well, ours. But more recently, sales numbers have been quick to weed out the bad – or less desirable – phones, too. And carriers have shown less patience with such devices.

The recently discontinued Pre 3 is a perfect example. HP's webOS has been the recipient of some rather tough reviews and lackluster sales as of late (if you don't count the fire sales). Although the software is still gorgeous and solid, HP could not improve on Palm's failed efforts. Hardware was a soft spot in the webOS armor. After the quickly forgotten HP Veer and the less-than-stellar TouchPad, several UK wireless operators quickly took a pass on the webOS-powered Pre 3. This was ultimately the straw that broke the camel's back and led to HP's eleventh hour decision to pull out of the hardware business – something Apotheker wanted all along – and the discontinuing of the Pre 3. Now there will be no US launch for the highly-anticipated, third-gen Pre.

Another example would be the cute but cheesy HTC Status (ChaCha), a phone geared towards social fiends – mostly teenagers obsessed with the book of faces. It launched a mere 37 days ago and yesterday, a rumor from TechCrunch revealed that AT&T may be discontinuing the phone – reportedly (and unsurprisingly) due to poor sales. Really AT&T, just 36 days? Apparently, a phone centered around Facebook wasn't a great idea after all. (Imagine that ...) We should keep in mind that it's only a rumor and Ol' Blue responded to it with, "The HTC Status is a great product and our plans for it to be part of our portfolio haven’t changed." Either way, I can't imagine the Status has been flying off the shelves, and a stagnant product after one short month isn't something they should be thrilled over.

Before the smartphone boom, there were a select few devices to choose from when visiting the carrier store for your upgrade. Now there are at least 30 at any given time. Of those, there are the flagships, which are always going to sell like hot cakes, the bargain seekers' mid-range devices, feature/messaging phones and the "others" (like the Status and Kyocera Echo). The others are usually targeting a very limited audience. Even though wireless providers and OEMs think the concept behind these different phones may be novel, they are almost always met with disinterest from the masses. At that point, it is easier for the carrier to admit they were wrong, cut their losses and move on. Something will surely come along to fill its shoes no sooner than they can deem it "discontinued" anyway.

Not only that, but older flagships that have been replaced by a successor is still likely to garner quite a bit of attention at a reduced price. Though it may be outdated in the eyes of a tech evangelist who seeks nothing but the latest and greatest, it is a great deal for someone looking for a solid device at a more wallet-friendly rate. Take the EVO 4G for instance. I'm willing to bet that for $100 and a two-year agreement, Sprint probably moves more EVO 4Gs than the newer but lesser-known Samsung Conquer 4G for the same price.

This surge of handhelds is relatively new and carriers are still adapting to all the changes it has brought. Flagship phones like the Sensation, iPhone and EVO 3D are hogging all of the sales and helping cheaper, less-powerful phones collect more dust. As carriers begin to realize that calling it quits on a device is much easier and cost effective than letting it occupy a valuable slot on their shelves – and that the spot will quickly be filled by something else, hopefully a little more well-received – I have a feeling they will have much less patience with less popular devices.

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Products mentioned in this Article

eBay prices for the HTC Status Silver

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30 Reactions to this post

"Should carriers pass on certain devices?"

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David Kimberlin
David Kimberlin how so Zach it made mine run alot better got the bloat shiz off the phone I would never run stock rom
Zach Cline
Zach Cline Custom ROMS suck.
Max Abir
Max Abir I got HTC sensation with custom ROM, and its fast as hell
Max Abir
Max Abir Ha ha ha don't forget that 2 of the best phones out there are from HTC, EVO 3d and HTC sensation 4g. What kind of phone u got?
Konner Shea
Konner Shea Israel Levia, HTC phones are terrible. My focus has better build quality, and the camera and speaker doesn't suck. HTC needs to go back to the drawing board instead of recycling the same phone over and over.
Konner Shea
Konner Shea you mean like the status? yeah, they should have.
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson You could always go with metro, boost, or virigin if you want a messaging phone.
Stefanie Dever
Stefanie Dever Yeah...I guess Verizon just wants the added $720+ a year with those fabulous data plan grabs. Oh well. *shrugs*
Zach Cline
Zach Cline @stefanie. There's a lack of them because the demand for basic calling / texting phones isn't there.
Israel Leiva
Israel Leiva f*ck all Nokia,RIM, Samsung, and HP products. Stick to Apple, Motorola, & HTC. Everyone else can kick rocks.
Stefanie Dever
Stefanie Dever @Brandon- don't you think it's the demand of Verizon itself. How can a phone company get it's phone picked up by a wireless giant if they aren't offering what the company wants to sell?
José J. Landrau
José J. Landrau All carriers should carry all the phones. More people buying the phones more money for the phone makers.
Frank Porter
Frank Porter Past history would certainly indicate that that's the carrier's way of thinking Taylor. Next question "yawn"
Brandon Johnson
Brandon Johnson Stefanie I think that's because most of the messaging phone makers have been making smartphones, that really isn't Verizon just deciding to sell crappy ones.
Stefanie Dever
Stefanie Dever @Joel Diaz...yes, I am aware of Verizon's offerings. And MOST of the messaging phones are crap. Their offerings have consistently gone downhill in the past couple of years. How many messaging phones have come out this year compared to their Smart Phones. It's quite obvious they want every customer to have a smart phone and they will bring in cheap/crappy messaging phones until they do.
Dylan Greene
Dylan Greene heyyy! windows phone was voted the sexiest OS on a phone. what was yours voted?
Herman Guerra
Herman Guerra WP7 phones and their Ugly tiles can go...They are hideous!
Mary Foley Whalen
Mary Foley Whalen Evo 3d flagship phone? Really? Think that falls more into "novel met with disinterest from the masses" category..
Dylan Greene
Dylan Greene no palm pres anymore, hp is out of buisness
Hansel Starley
Hansel Starley If it's called the Palm pre 3. Then yes, by all means.
Dawn Nichols Sneathen
Dawn Nichols Sneathen I think EVERY PERSON should be able to have ANY DEVICE with ANY CARRIER!!
Rani Hinnawi
Rani Hinnawi It kind of diminishes the whole concept of competition and improved service. If they all shared phones, then what's the point of healthy competition? I say let one carrier (or two) get a really good phone and then the others will try to get better phones, and competition will allow for a better, cheaper and more efficient market. Plus, you can always get unlocked GSM and CDMA phones to use on other carriers.
Gary Brown
Gary Brown nothing is wrong with certain carrier having exclusive devices. that what makes the carrier special , its exclusive devices and coverage.AT&T would have love for the Iphone to stay exclusive but when verizon got it that hurt AT&T business. If its a great phone that you really want and since there is no more unlimited data , you have to pick the carrier base on the phone.
Joel Diaz
Joel Diaz @ Stephanie: Verizon does have messaging phones.
Clifton Foster
Clifton Foster I phone 5 for sprint. Good idea?
Christopher Percy
Christopher Percy Stefanie, totally agree, I finally kicked the contract habit and went prepaid with Virgin, still get what I need out of it without spending a fortune...coverage aint half bad either
Stefanie Dever
Stefanie Dever It's not hard to keep up with the "non-smart phone market" that's for sure. Let's just say beyond Verizon's price points, their obvious lack of basic/messaging phones is highly disappointing. I'm out of my contract Sept. 9th. I have no plans to re-up at this point and only hope in the future better coverage comes with other providers.
Christopher Percy
Christopher Percy Drop RIM devices, like HP phones, they shouldn't exist
Marco Cebrero
Marco Cebrero Yeah, phones that are ESN, should also be GSM.
Hatim Earl
Hatim Earl No choice is always good for the consumer

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