US carrier Verizon Wireless will start to sell a new LG Electronics smartphone, the latest handset with computer-like functions to join an increasingly crowded US market, a Reuters report said.
Dubbed the enV, the gadget is the ninth smartphone being offered by Verizon Wireless, the Reuters report said.
This year's holiday shopping season is the first during which Verizon Wireless and its rivals are banking on high-end handsets at lower prices to attract consumers to data services like email, video and music, the report added.
US mobile operators are spending billions of dollars to upgrade their networks to deliver these data services but smartphones have not been a big hit so far with consumers, the Reuters report added.
Verizon Wireless, the No. 2 U.S. mobile service, hopes a bigger variety of cheaper smartphones will attract mass demand, though some analysts questioned whether there were too many models in the market already, the report said.
The unit of Verizon Communications and Vodafone said the enV will sell for $149 to customers who commit to a two-year contract. That is half the $300 that smartphones typically fetched until this year, with businesses accounting for the bulk of buyers.Verizon also sells Motorola's Q for $100. T-Mobile USA sells Research In Motion's Pearl for $199 and Cingular offers Samsung's BlackJack for a similar price.