Text me it's not true: iPhone 3GS costs 49 bucks

Is iPhone 4 too rich for your recession-weary wallet? Can't spare $199 or $299 for Apple's newness but iPhone-envy is making you an insomniac? Today, AT&T announced the deal, or is that steal, of the week: iPhone 3GS for a sweet 49 bucks. Starting January 7.

The timing is baffling with the Consumer Electronics Show officially starting today and so many hot, Android phones being introduced -- the Motorola Atrix 4G and LG Optimus Black, among them. These are dreamy handsets. Who can get any work done just thinking about them?

But iPhone-envy is a documented psychological syndrome -- OK, well it should be -- and those craving 4 but can't afford it could still take 3GS. AT&T will offer the phone online and in its 2,200 retail outlets. Standard eligibility and contractual requirements apply.

Would you commit to a two year-contract for a year-and-a-half-old smartphone? I wouldn't. But for teenagers, it's a helluva a deal. The iPhone 3GS is simply the cheapest iPod touch they could buy -- oh, and it texts and makes phone calls. Too bad about those pesky monthly data fees.

Forgive my reporter's cynicism, but I've got to wonder if AT&T isn't making a last-ditch effort to pull in as many new iPhone subscribers as possible before a Verizon iPhone is announced.

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