TAMPA BAY, Florida - Remember when you're cell phone just had numbers and two buttons to start and stop the call? Those days are long gone.
Now, consumers find themselves choosing between a bevy of elaborate smart phones that often have dozens of buttons - or none at all.
It's tough to keep up with all the new phones hitting the market, but 10 News researched some of the more popular models - and consulted with local technology expert Chris Rokosz - to come up with some tips to follow the next time you're in the market for a phone.
Apple iPhone - The most recognizable phone on the market is Apple's iPhone. The near-cult following of the product has boosted AT&T's market share, but fans are clamoring for Verizon to cut a deal with Apple.
Pros: Most applications on the market (300,000), generally more affordable than Verizon phones, silky-smooth touch-screen access to anything you'd ever want.
Cons: AT&T network not as good as Verizon's, screen and camera not as good as the Droid X.
Rokosz Sayz: "Great if you want to carry around a computer in your pocket and occasionally make phone calls."
***Widespread rumors on the Internet suggest Verizon may cut a deal to sell the iPhone in 2011.
Android - We looked at the Droid X model, although there are a number of different Droid phones available on different carries. The Apple vs. Android debate is very similar to the Apple vs. PC debate.
Pros: Droids generally have bigger screens, better keyboards (real or virtual), and better call networks (when on Verizon).
Cons: Not nearly as many apps as the iPhone, Verizon generally more expensive than AT&T plans.
Rokosz Sayz: "The Verizon network is just superior for making phone calls."
***AT&T has recently expanded its phone line, so some Android models are available on its network too.
Blackberry - Business professionals have long relied on the Blackberry. Although the trusty company recently launched touch-screen phones, its best known for revolutionizing the smart phone game with its phones that feature QWERTY keyboards.
Pros: Excellent email and web access, won't burden you with "luxury" features, often cheaper.
Cons: Fewer apps than its competitors, fewer "gizmos and gadgets" than competitors.
Rokosz Sayz: "Blackberry is playing catch-up to the iPhone and Droids."
Standard phone - If high-tech features and countless applications aren't necessary and you're looking for a more affordable phone option, you can still get a standard phone that primary acts as - get this - a phone.
Pros: More than 50 percent cheaper than smart phones, can still send text messages, call quality just as good.
Cons: No internet, no GPS, no awe-inspiring apps.
Rokosz Sayz: "If you drive from your house to your job, your job doesn't require a smart phone, and you drive back to your home and sometimes go out, smart phones may not be the best investment for you."
Connect with 10 News reporter Noah Pransky on Facebook at www.facebook.com/noahpransky or Twitter at www.twitter.com/noahpransky.
Noah Pransky, 10 News