Verizon, Sprint roll out holiday smartphones

Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel each laid out a new smartphone ahead of the holiday shopping season, but the announcements had less flair than they might have if the two carriers were not busy promoting other devices and initiatives.

palm pixi blackberry storm2Verizon, in the midst of reporting its quarterly earnings, said it would sell Research In Motion's BlackBerry Storm2 for $179.99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate, beginning Oct. 28. Though the Storm2 is the successor to Verizon's highly touted smartphone from last year, the launch date is the same day that Verizon is expected to unveil the Motorola Droid, its first Android phone. So far, Verizon has devoted significant marketing attention to the Droid.

The Storm2 has an improved touchscreen input interface, WiFi, BlackBerry OS 5.0 and a 3.2-megapixel camera. The Storm2 will retail for $20 less than the original Storm did last year when it was first released. Additionally, Verizon said that current Storm customers will be able to upgrade their phone to the new BlackBerry operating system.

In other smartphone news, Sprint announced pricing and availability information for the Palm Pixi, its second phone running Palm's webOS platform. The Pixi will retail for $99.99 with a two-year contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate, beginning Nov. 15, and also will be sold at Best Buy, RadioShack and select Wal-Mart stores. The Pixi, a candy-bar style phone geared toward messaging, comes with a full Qwerty keyboard, a 2.63-inch multi-touch touchscreen, a gesture area like the Palm Pre, a 2-megapixel camera, GPS, an accelerometer and 8 GB of internal storage.

The device is not the only smartphone Sprint likely will be supporting heavily this quarter. The carrier recently launched the HTC Hero, its first Android phone, and also is still busy promoting the Pre, which it is selling for $150 on contract.        

For more:
- see this Verizon release
- see this Sprint release

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