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New Smartphones Race Into Stores For Q4

U.S. cellphone sell-in declined in units during the first two quarters of the year and perhaps in the third quarter as well, but smartphone sell-in continued to grow, analysts say.

In the fourth quarter, analysts expect the devices to continue increasing their share of cellphone sales with aggressive product launches and promotions of such new smartphone models as Verizon Wireless’s Motorola-made Droid, Sprint’s Palm-made Pixi, and Verizon’s BlackBerry Storm2.

Verizon’s first Android-based smartphone, the Droid by Motorola, went on sale Nov. 6 at $199, backed by the largest marketing campaign in the carrier’s history, Verizon executive VP/chief marketing officer John Stratton said.

The Droid is the first Android-based smartphone using the new 2.0 version of the Android OS, enabling users to multitask up to six applications. The new OS also supports Google’s new navigation application. Google Maps Navigation, which offers spoken street name, uses a hybrid navigation technology that downloads a route’s maps and driving directions on demand from the cloud for local storage.

The Droid, Motorola’s second Android device announced to date, is touted as the industry’s thinnest smartphone with slide-out full QWERTY keyboard at 0.54 inches available through all Verizon direct and indirect channels at $199 after $100 rebate with two-year contract and $29.99/month 3G data plan.

Earlier on Oct. 28, Verizon launched the long-anticipated BlackBerry Storm2 smartphone at $179.

For its part, Sprint announced Nov. 15 availability of Palm’s second smartphones based on Palm’s WebOS.The Axi’s $99.99 price is with two-year service agreement after rebates. For more details see