Verizon, T-Mobile expand summer handsets

The summer season for cell phone launches continues to heat up ahead of Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) expected unveiling of its next iPhone on June 7.  Verizon Wireless, Research In Motion, LG, T-Mobile USA and Motorola debuted new smartphones and feature phones today.

Motorola flipout MotoblurVerizon (NYSE:VZ) announced plans to sell RIM's (NASDAQ:RIMM) BlackBerry Bold 9650 for $149.99 after a $100 rebate and with a two-year service contract. The gadget brings the high-end BlackBerry Bold line to CDMA carriers like Verizon; previously RIM's Bolds were sold only through GSM carriers such as AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T). Sprint Nextel (NASDAQ:S) currently sells the BlackBerry Bold 9650 for $199.99 with a rebate and contract.

Separately, LG--the world's third-largest maker of mobile phones--announced it will now begin selling phones through T-Mobile USA, the nation's No. 4 carrier. The deal represents an important step for both companies as they look to compete with their respective larger rivals. T-Mobile said it will sell the LG Sentio, LG dLite and LG GS170 this summer. The LG Sentio and LG dLite will come equipped with T-Mobile's "Social Buzz" application, which the carrier said provides "easy access to your favorite social networking sites."

The companies did not disclose pricing for the gadgets.

Finally, Motorola (NASDAQ:MOT) once again reiterated its reliance on Google's Android platform with its new Flipout Android-powered smartphone. The device features a unique square design that swings open to reveal a Qwerty keyboard (the design is reminiscent of Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) Twist at Verizon). The Motorola Flipout sports industry-requisite features and functions (3-megapixel camera, GPS and so on) and runs Android version 2.1.

Interestingly, the Flipout is the first Motorola phone to feature an enhanced version of the company's MotoBLUR Android user interface overlay. Motorola said the latest version of MotoBLUR "allows you to take control of your Happenings and Messages widgets with the option to filter out updates and messages you don't want, making it easier to follow who and what really matters."

Motorola said the Flipout, which supports the WCDMA 900/2100 MHz bands, will be available "in certain regions around the world beginning in the second quarter of 2010." The company did not release pricing information.

For more:
- see this Verizon BlackBerry Bold release
- see this LG/T-Mobile release
- see this Motorola release

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Handset makers set for summer smartphone showdown
In photos: 2010 summer smartphone showdown

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