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Verizon Upgrading Basic-Cellphone Capabilities

6/01/2011 01:17:25 PM Eastern

Basking
Ridge, N.J. - Verizon Wireless announced two initiatives designed to make basic
cellphones more attractive to consumers.

First,
the carrier said it will adopt Qualcomm's Brew MP platform,
which runs more robust downloadable apps compared to the apps previously available
for cellphones that lack a smartphone OS. Second, Verizon has begun for a
limited time to include its VZ Navigator cloud-based navigation service and a
ringback-tone subscription into its current $10/month 75MB data plan for basic
phones. The plan previously included email, web browsing, game and app
downloads and social networking updates.

Brew
MP, which stands for Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless Mobile Platform,
runs apps on lower end chipsets with lower speeds and lower memory capacities
while supporting Java and Adobe Flash. It offers more smartphone-like apps
compared to the Brew app platform now used by Verizon.

AT&T launched
its first Brew MP phones this year following a 2010 announcement that it planned to adopt the Brew MP platform.

 Verizon said it will
announce several
new Brew and Brew MP
phones
in the coming months,
most of which will
feature an updated easier-to-use storefront and add the ability to preview hundreds
of applications before purchase. The new
application storefront will also include a recommendation engine that personalizes app
recommendations, personalized
app recommendations.
In-app
purchases will also
be new.

 "The demand for basic phones remains
strong, with hundreds of millions of devices being used all over the world
today," said Michael Wallace,
senior VP/GM of Qualcomm
Internet Services. "Brew MP is
enabling developers to drive revenue and bring feature-rich functionality to
the mass market."

For
any basic cellphone, not just Brew MP phones, Verizon has begun bundling its
cloud-based navigation service and a ringback-tone subscription into its
$10/month 75MB data plan. The new Value Pack will enable users to save more than
$10/month over the
cost of individual Navigator
and ringback-tone subscriptions,
the carrier said.

Basic-phone customers with existing
data packages, including the 75MB/month package, can move to the
Value Pack at any time, as can users who already
subscribe
to VZ Navigator, the
carrier said.

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