updated 08:55 am EDT, Wed October 3, 2007
Verizon LG Voyager
Verizon today launched its most concerted effort yet to respond to the iPhone and to improve its music phone lineup with four new devices. The carrier began with its most ambitious device ever, the LG Voyager. Also known as the VX10000, the handset is one of LG's first touchscreen phones to target the US and includes a more iPhone-like interface based on that of the Prada phone; users can place calls, play AAC/MP3/WMA music, and take 2-megapixel photos almost exclusively from the screen. However, the device is also one of the first LG touch models to offer a keyboard alternative: flipping open the device reveals a lengthwise QWERTY keyboard and a secondary screen for e-mail, text messaging, and games. It also supports V CAST TV for live digital TV viewing and stores as much as 8GB of media on a microSDHC card.
The Voyager will make its Internet connection through Verizon's EV-DO 3G network and will support virtually all of the provider's extra services. Subscribers can buy songs from the V CAST music store or receive assisted GPS routing through VZ Navigator, the company says. Arriving last out of the four new phones, the Voyager is due to arrive last and should launch by the Thanksgiving holiday. Pricing for it and the other phones has not been announced.
A less costly alternative, the Venus, is a blend between touchscreen phones and a traditional slider; a split display on the outer shell includes a touchscreen navigation pad that changes its controls based on the context. For quick dialing and messaging, however, users can also slide out a physical number pad. Although it goes without V CAST TV, it shares the Voyager's 2-megapixel camera, 8GB microSDHC support, and music playback. The Venus will be ready late in the release schedule but should also be ready before Thanksgiving.
Non-LG phones complement the range. Known in other markets as part of Samsung's F200 series, the Juke breaks with convention through a very narrow, swiveling design. It focuses almost exclusively on music and includes a circular control pad as well as 2GB of built-in flash to load up through USB. It comes with a VGA camera and will be available in three primary colors. Verizon is tentatively expected to price the Juke at $100 after signing a two-year contract and will release the phone ahead of the Venus and Voyager.
A second non-LG device, the BlackBerry Pearl 8130, brings RIM's smaller smartphone to Verizon's network for the first time and includes a 2-megapixel camera, a full-size headphone minijack, and GPS mapping. The Pearl will be available roughly at the same time as the Juke but has not received definitive pricing.
BlackBerry Pearl 8130