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Verizon Stresses PDA Phones, Music Phones

Bedminster, N.J. — Verizon Wireless is stocking up on music phones, navigation-equipped phones, PDA-phones and smartphones for the Christmas selling season.

The carrier will offer a greater selection of PDA-phones based on Microsoft’s Windows Mobile 6 Professional OS, which supports touchscreens and optional QWERTY keyboards and allows for document creation, not just document viewing and editing.

Professional-edition PDA-phones with touchscreens and QWERTY keyboards include the Samsung-made SCH-i760 and UTStarcom-made XV6800.

A new smartphone using the touchscreen-less Windows Mobile 6 Standard OS but incorporating QWERTY keypad include Verizon’s UTStarcom-supplied SMT5800.

Verizon is also focusing on music phones, embedding memory of up to 2GB in new models

Here’s what retailers and consumers will find:

Samsung Juke: The Samsung-made u740 is a music phone that looks like an MP3 player when closed but swivels open 180 degrees at the top to take the shape of a phone. When closed, a navigation thumbwheel is available to scroll through songs stored in the MP3, WMA, AAC and AAC+ formats in the phone’s embedded 2GB flash memory. It features stereo Bluetooth, GPS, and VGA low-light camera at $99 after mail-in rebate and two-year contract. It stores music side-loaded from a PC but not downloaded over the air from Verizon. It also features Verizon’s VZ Navigator turn-by-turn driving-instruction service and the carrier’s child-tracking Chaperone service.

Samsung SCH-i760: The Windows Mobile 6 Professional PDA-phone is equipped with touchscreen and hard QWERTY keyboard. It looks like a phone when held vertically, but when flipped to a horizontal position, a QWERTY keyboard slides out, and the vertical orientation of the main display screen goes horizontal.

The 2.28-inch by 4.49-inch by 0.77-inch 5.3-ounce device, available on Verizon’s site and due in retail channels Nov. 2, retails for $349 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year contract. Consumers can get an additional $100 credit if they get a voice and email plan of $79.99 or higher or a voice plan of $39.99 or higher with an unlimited data plan.

Features include CDMA 1x EV-DO high-speed data, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, 1.3-megapixel camera, Windows Mobile Media Player 10, stereo Bluetooth, and support for Verizon’s over-air music-downloading and music-streaming services and video streaming services. It plays music in the MIDI, WAV, AAC, AAC+, MP3, WMA and ASF formats and video in the MPEG-4, WMV, ASF, H.264, and H.263 formats. Other features include a microSD slot and up to 210 minutes of talk time on standard battery.

When the device was shown at International CES in January, it was based on the Windows Mobile 5 OS.

UTStarcom XV6800: The device is the Windows Mobile 6 Professional version of a UTStarcom-supplied Verizon phone based on the previous-generation Windows Mobile 5 PockerPC Phone Edition OS. A touchscreen appears on front, and a QWERTY keyboard slides out from the side, placing the screen in landscape mode. The 800/1,900MHz EV-DO phone offers Wi-Fi like its predecessor but boosts camera resolution to 2 megapixels from 1.3 and upgrades Bluetooth to stereo.

Pricing and availability weren’t announced at press time.

UTStarcom SMT5800: The smartphone is based on the Windows Mobile 6 Standard OS, lacks a touchscreen, but features slide-out QWERTY keyboard. The bar phone is equipped with 2-megapixel camera, Windows Media Player 10, and big screen. Additional details and pricing were unavailable.

Treo 755p: The device is already available through Sprint and Alltel, and it could become Verizon’s lowest priced Treo with Palm OS. Pricing and availability weren’t released, but the QWERTY-keyboard-equipped device with touchscreen retails for $199 through Sprint and Alltel. Verizon’s current Palm-OS-based Treos retail for $399 and up.

The CDMA 1x EV-DO device features stereo Bluetooth, 1.3-megapixel camera and miniSD slot, which accepts cards up to 8GB in capacity.