I don't understand this irrational fear of cell phone contracts. Maybe things work differently over there in the UK. The cancellation fees for cellphone contracts are much more reasonable than they used to be. I bought my phone outright because I wanted greater flexibility. But if you use a lot of voice airtime or lots of mobile data, you're better off getting a phone for like $0 and signing the 3 year contract because the carriers will offer you plans with a better deal (ie. free evenings and weekends) if you commit to 3 years.
Btw they also have entry-level Android smartphones on the market for cheap anyway if you don't want to put down $500 plus on a phone upfront or sign a 2 to 3 year contract. And they can be bought for significantly cheaper than a 3DS, which is just a dedicated gaming handheld that doesn't really do anything decently other than play games.
I think dedicated gaming handhelds still have a place in gaming. But the 3D direction of the system is going to unnecessarily alienate a lot of people (whether it be people who can't see 3D properly, people who get eyestrain/headaches/sick from it, the mass market gamer that wants pick up and play and not home console experiences on the go, jacking up the price of games to $40, parents who are going to get scared about the system will fuck up their kids' eyes because of the warning labels, people who are pissed off about the battery life, people who are pissed off that the D-Pad is on the bottom, people who think $250 is too much for a dedicated gaming handheld, etc.) And the fact that it's called a 3DS is going to make people think that it's just a new DS redesign like the DS Lite and DSi was but with teh 3D. And I really don't see game developers focusing on making 2D-only experiences for the 3DS when the whole point of the 3DS is the 3D. As a result, 3D is going to be tacked on needlessly worse than Motion Controls were tacked on with Wii games. Just like how Hollywood is in shambles because they tack on 3D to shit and try to sell it off as great.