Droid Eris headlines Verizon's holiday handset blitz

Verizon Wireless launched a slew of new phones today including the HTC Droid Eris, the carrier's second phone based on Google's Android platform. Research In Motion's BlackBerry Curve 8530, a new LG Chocolate phone and a rugged push-to-talk handset from Samsung were also on tap.

However, the Droid Eris is clearly the marquee announcement. When Verizon announced the Motorola Droid, its first Android phone, rumors were already swirling that Verzion would launch the Droid Eris, a phone similar to the HTC Hero, as well. The Droid Eris runs on Android 1.5, and also features HTC's custom Sense user interface. It has a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen, a trackball, 5-megapixel camera, 3.5 mm headset jack and expandable memory with pre-installed 8 GB microSD card. Verizon will launch the Droid Eris Nov. 6, the same day as the Droid, for $99.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate.

An HTC spokeswoman told FierceWireless that it's possible that the Droid Eris will be upgraded to Android 2.0 in the future (the Moto Droid runs Android 2.0), but that the company had nothing official to announce right now.

Separately, Verizon launched the BlackBerry Curve 8530, which has a 528 MHz "next generation" processor, GPS, WiFi and a 2-megapixel camera. The Curve will launch Nov. 20 for $99.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. The carrier also launched the LG Chocolate Touch, a music-oriented phone with an integrated FM radio, stereo Bluetooth, a dedicated music key and Dolby Mobile features. The phone retails for $79.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate. Finally, Verizon launched the rugged Samsung Convoy, which features a 2-megapixel camera and Bluetooth 2.1 technology. The phone will go on sale Nov. 15 for $49.99 with a two year-contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate.

In other Verizon news, the company confirmed that, beginning Nov.15, it is doubling its early termination fee to $350 for so-called "advanced devices." The company said that it is doing so because its high-end phones and netbooks are becoming more expensive.

For more:
- see these photos and specs
- see this Droid Eris release
- see this Curve release
- see this LG Chocolate Touch release
- see this Samsung Convoy release
- see this Washington Post article

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