Verizon Upgrading Basic-Cellphone Capabilities

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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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