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Verizon Plans Palm Pre, Android, New BlackBerries

New York – Verizon Wireless will be selling the Palm Pre, the next-generation BlackBerry Storm and Android-based phones within about six months, the carrier’s president/CEO said during a Barclays Capital conference here.

The six-month roadmap also includes a second-generation touchscreen-equipped BlackBerry Storm and a new BlackBerry called the Tour, Lowell McAdam said during the webcast event without offering much detail.

With the Palm Pre announcement, Verizon disclosed the six-month window in which rival Sprint will be the exclusive Pre seller. When the Pre was unveiled at January’s CES, Palm said it would be available exclusively for an undisclosed period of time through Sprint, which plans June 6 availability at $199.99 in Sprint-owned stores as well as through Best Buy, RadioShack select Walmart stores and

In his comments, McAdam also said Motorola would return to the carrier’s portfolio within six months.

“Over the next six months or so,” he said, “you will see devices like the Palm Pre and the Cousin on our network from Palm. You will see a second-generation [BlackBerry] Storm. You will see a new device we call the Tour from BlackBerry as well. That is an upscale of any other QWERTY-based devices that we have from BlackBerry today.”

He continued, “You’ll see Motorola back into our portfolio. We feel very good about the progress that the Motorola team has made. And, yes, you’re going to see Android devices as well.”

In other comments, McAdam said:

* about 41 percent of first-quarter device sales in the carrier’s direct channels were smartphones and PDA phones;

* he is “very encouraged by the kind of uptake” that the carrier’s first netbook, an HP model, has enjoyed since its recent launch almost two weeks ago;

* the company will offer 4G LTE data service next year in 25 to 30 markets, then in 2011 and 2012 “will continue to expand significantly with an ultimate goal of covering virtually all of our POPs with this high-performance network by the end of 2013;” and

* its conversion to LTE at a faster pace than AT&T will drive “the best applications and best devices” to the Verizon network first. Verizon wants “to move quickly with one conversion to fourth generation,” he said. “ Doing a couple of conversions [like AT&T] to an HSPA+ and then to another LTE — I think that is going to be a very difficult thing to pull off.”

“We are going to move very quickly [to] get LTE out there. And I think the important point is the physics of LTE for us…We will have doubled the spectrum depth in most markets. So the physics are that the ceiling for their network will be the floor for our network when it comes to speeds. When you have that kind of speed advantage, then the people that have those best applications and the best devices will be coming to Verizon Wireless first.”