Verizon contracts

First it was lengthening the early upgrade benefit, and now Verizon's apparently doing away with 1-year contracts altogether starting April 17. We'll let that sink in for a minute.

Here's the deal: Most of the time normal consumers (that's not likely to be many of you out there, right?) purchase a smartphone, they do it on contract. That's 24 months in which you're legally obligated to pay Verizon the monthly penance, and in exchange Verizon subsidizes the cost of the phone, getting it down to $300, $200, or maybe even less -- all the way down to free.

But what's not often talked about is the one-year contract. You pay a little more up front for the hardware, but you're only indebted to the carrier for 12 months. And, really, it's the way to go.

But Verizon apparently is about to do away with that. So you'll either have to pay $500 or $600 for a top-end smartphone, or get ready to sign away two years of your contract life. Up to you. Thanks, W!