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T-Mobile bribes fanbois to trade iPhone for...Windows Mobile 6.5

$100 to $350 for Apple abandonment

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Updated T-Mobile has instituted a tried-and-true incentive to induce iPhone users to switch to their HTC HD2: bribery.

The wireless carrier, based in Bellevue, Washington - a stone's throw from Microsoft's Redmond digs - will slip apostate iPhone owners $100 to $350 if they trade in their working Cupertinian smartphones for HTC's hot-selling HD2.

According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the deal will be offered by participating dealers, the company's 1-800-TMOBILE sales service and "business direct sales representatives" until May 19. T-Mobile didn't immediately respond to our confirmation request, nor our query as to which iPhone defectors get $100 and which get $350.

There's one catch though - and it's a big one: the HD2, though a fine phone, is lumbered by a dead-end operating system, Windows Mobile 6.5. And as we reported last month, phones running that operating system won't be upgradeable to Microsoft's latest and greatest Windows Phone 7 (née Series) when it's released later this year.

As you might assume, it's a good bet that developers won't spend much time creating new apps for an end-of-the-line operating system.

When Windows Mobile 6.5 debuted last fall, Reg Hardware rightly referred to it as being "really just the same old Windows Mobile with a smoother interface, touch-based navigation and some updated programs." Even no less a Windows-pusher than Steve Ballmer said that 6.5 was "not the full release we wanted."

On Engadget, a reviewer less biased than Ballmer was also less kind, saying that the 6.5 update was "very much a stopgap, complete with duct tape, bubble gum, and Bondo."

But if you're dissatisfied with either your iPhone or its oft-spotty AT&T service, T-Mobile will be more than happy to set you up with a cutting-edge smartphone running a retro operating system - and with no path to the future. ®

Update

T-Mobile responded to our queries with an only slightly less-vague statement: "Starting April 1 through May 19, customers may trade-in their iPhone and receive up to $350 when purchasing an HTC HD2 and ... the value of the trade-in will vary based on the generation and memory of the device."

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