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Verizon Expands Worldphone Lineup

Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon Wireless continues to expand its selection of worldphones with the introduction of HTC’s $49.99 Ozone, a smartphone based on the Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard OS.

The phone operates in 3G mode in North American CDMA 1x EV-DO (Rev. A) networks in the 800/1,900MHz bands and worldwide in GSM/EDGE networks in the  850/900/1,800/1,900MHz bands. It also features 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi and a preinstalled GSM SIM card.

Verizon is expanding its worldphone selection because of customer demand and improved dual-mode CDMA/GSM handset technology, a spokeswoman said. The technology “has evolved so manufacturers can meet our needs for CDMA/GSM handsets, and, secondly, customers want and use these devices,” she explained. “This is especially true of customers whose jobs are global.”

With the Ozone, Verizon will offer five worldphones, and that will grow to six with the launch later this year of the recently announced BlackBerry Tour smartphone. The other Verizon worldphones are the touchscreen-equipped BlackBerry Storm smartphone, Samsung Saga Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional smartphone with touchscreen and hard QWERTY keyboard, Samsung Renown and BlackBerry 8830 World Edition smartphone. Of these, only the BlackBerry Storm and Tour operate in 3G mode worldwide. Those two operate in 3G mode in CDMA 1x Rev. A networks as well as in overseas 2.1GHz HSPA networks.

Previously, Verizon also offered the Motorola Z6c worldphone.

The HTC Ozone will be available June 29 direct to consumers via and Verizon’s toll-free number. It will also be available to business that day through the carrier’s business channels. On July 13, it arrives in Verizon Wireless Communications Stores and indirect retail channels.

The Ozone’s $49.99 price is after a $70 mail-in rebate with a new two-year customer agreement. The rebate takes the form of a debit card.

The 3.7-ounce phone, which doubles as a wireless modem, features hard QWERTY keyboard, 2.4-inch 320 by 240 QVGA display, 2-megapixel camera/camcorder with autofocus, microSD slot supporting 16GB cards, IM applications, ActiveSync, stereo Bluetooth 2.0 and Verizon’s visual voicemail.

Like other Windows Mobile 6.1 Standard phones, it lets consumers view and edit Exceland Worddocuments, view PowerPoint presentations, and create notes with OneNote Mobile. It also supports the Adobe Reader LE PDF viewer and features Internet Explorer Mobile and Windows MediaPlayer Mobile.

The standard 1,500mAh battery delivers 290 minutes of CDMA talktime or 324 hours of standby. The phone is 4.5 inches by 2.5 inches by 0.5 inches.