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Verizon’s Versa Ships March 1 

Basking Ridge, N.J. — Verizon Wireless plans March 1 availability of the LG-made Versa multimedia phone, a touchscreen-equipped phone with swiping 3D user interface and tactile feedback. It’s the U.S. market’s first cellphone with attachable QWERTY keyboard, LG said.

The 800/1900MHz EV-DO Rev. A phone will retail for $199.99 with $50 mail-in rebate and two-year

contract through Verizon-owned stores, the carrier’s online site and indirect retailers. The price includes the attachable QWERTY keyboard, which covers the touchscreen when closed but features its own exterior LCD display, send/end keys and speaker. It’s said to be a $100 value.

Versa’s 3-inch 3D touchscreen features tactile feedback and three user-customizable home screens. Consumers swipe from one home screen to another in rotating 3-D fashion. The device also features an accelerometer that automatically rotates the screen from portrait to landscape mode and lets users control game play by rotating the device.

For LG, the Versa is the company’s first U.S.-market phone with swiping interface, 3-D interface and ability to control game play via accelerometer. In the U.S., the Apple iPhone and SonyEricsson 760A also control game play via an accelerometer. The HTC Touch Diamond and iPhone already feature swiping 3-D motion user interface.

Other Versa features include 2-megapixel camera/camcorder with face detection, visual voice mail, HTML Web browsing with swiping navigation, AV player, stereo Bluetooth version 2.1 with enhanced data rate (EDR), Verizon’s VZ Navigator navigation service, over-the-air music downloads and ability to download over-the-air firmware upgrades. The MicroSD slot supports 16GB memory cards.

The device’s LG-proprietary OS is open to third-party vendors to create applications, including games that take advantage of the swiping and accelerometer features, a spokeswoman said.

The handset weighs 3.81 ounces, and the keyboard weighs 2 ounces. Talk time is four hours and 50 minutes, and standby time is 17.9 hours.

For Verizon, the Dare will be the carrier’s third touch-screen phone after the LG Dare and BlackBerry Storm with swiping user interface. It will be the second after the Samsung Omnia Windows Mobile 6.1 PDA-phone to feature 3-D user interface, a Verizon spokesperson said.