Recently, I switched to a provider that's actually based in my state capitol; Raleigh, North Carolina. The company is aptly named Republic Wireless and they offer two mega sweet deals.
If you want to pay $199 for the phone and only $19 a month for unlimited everything; then that's the first option to choose (add a line and they will take $50 off your order) and if you are like me and prefer a cheaper phone and don't mind spending just a few more dollars a month for the same great service; they offer the phone at $79 and $29 a month for unlimited everything.
All in all; it's a pretty awesome deal. The phone however is a major bust if you don't tweak it. This is what I'll be covering in this post. A mini guide to get the most out of this phone (since it's currently the only one they offer) and how to get some of the look and feel of the current Android version (4.0.x.x & so on)
You will need two apps mainly: Holo launcher & Holo locker
Both of these apps are blazing fast, ad free, and 100% free to use. You can upgrade to a 'Pro' version for certain features but the free version is perfect if you don't want the added functions (which aren't really needed anyway) but options are always great to have and that's what I love about Android. You can customize it to your liking.
The Moto UI that comes on the phone is super laggy and super slow. It's very ugly too. These two free apps will restore speed and beautiful updated functions to the phone.
For the keyboard; I highly recommend installing ICS Keyboard in the Play Store. It makes typing much much easier and it's beautifully blended into the phone for an excellent ICS feeling. I recommend this keyboard over Swype and many others because it's low on memory use and it's super fast and stable. The best on the market thus far. A true must have for this device.
Here's a complete list of apps that I would recommend for customizing the phone to a nice streamlined experience and fast pace users like myself that prefer a faster phone. It still lags from time to time; but it's not nearly as terrible as it was the first time I used the phone. This will make the phone completely usable again. Oh, and your phone will look gorgeous too.
-Handcent SMS (Register for full function; it's free)
-exDialer (includes excellent themes and downloadable themes that are lightweight in size)
As an added bonus; use Holo Notifier for streamlined notifications; though it's not a must if you are already familiar with the original notification panel built into Android.
When setting up Holo Launcher; in the settings for all areas; go to 'Speed settings' and change it from 60 to 80 for all of the areas (i.e. Desktop, Drawer, etc) and it will amaze you at how much faster it becomes. I highly recommend going into your normal phone settings to turn off all animations as this will significantly help speed as well; Holo Launcher has it's own effects but I recommend not using them either. Trust me, it's better and it will be beautiful even without the fancy animations. More like pure Android in a sense.
Well, hopefully this little mini guide will help some of you out there with this phone. Good luck and if you have any better ways to really make the phone go 'WOW' then feel free to post a comment in the comment section of this post!
Ciao mon cheries :)