Should I Get a Smartphone?

I'm sure you're all dying to know what cell phone I use, right? ;) Here it is:
Just in case you want to run out and snag one, it's a Pantech Hotshot. I used the highly technical selection process of "which phone will you give me free with a contract?" to decide it was the phone for me. (It was actually the only free phone available.) Talking and texting on it are fine - I really can't complain about a free phone. 

But let's take a look at the smartphone I've been craving on and off over the years:

No surprise, right? I'm sure there are plenty of people who want an iphone. I definitely don't need it, but it certainly would be convenient and fun. 

There are two obstacles, though. The first is the price - my provider requires a data plan for smartphones (honestly, I think all the big providers do), which runs a minimum of $30/month or $360/year (I like to calculate the yearly price for maximum do I really need this? factor). And it doesn't seem likely the data cost will ever get lower . . 

I'm also worried about becoming glued to my phone. I see families out at restaurants, and while they wait for their food, everyone is "busy" on their separate devices. Nothing wrong with that - whatever floats your boat. But right now I have no qualms about leaving my phone in my purse for hours - and I want to hold on to that. 

So whenever I got a hankering for an iphone, I'd think about those two reasons again and, boom - craving quashed. 

Then along comes this phone service: 
Republic Wireless, here to make my decision more complicated. 

You have to buy their phone (for $249 - bummer) and the monthly service costs $19/month for unlimited ($249 + $228 = $477 for the first year, $228/year after that). Even with my basic phone and plan, I pay $50/month ($600/year). Republic only offers one phone (and it's pretty far from an iphone), BUT this super cheap plan is making me reconsider getting a smartphone - even if only to save tons of moolah over my basic plan. eek :)

Any advice? Do you have a smartphone? Will it become my life source?


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