Verizon Wireless takes a crack at iPod

Has Verizon begun a direct attack on the dominance of the iPod? The company announced some dramatic changes to its music download service, eliminating its subscription fees for the V Cast Music service as well as launching LG's Chocolate handset that features an iPod-like scroll wheel, a memory card that can hold up to 1,000 songs and compatibility with Microsoft's Windows Media Player. Verizon subscribers now only need to pay the per-song fee of $1.99, which includes a PC version as well as a mobile one. Until now, subscribers also had to pay an arbitrary $15 a month subscription fee for the music service. The Chocolate handset retails for a cool $150 with the standard two-year contract, but an additional $100 brings a removable memory stick from SanDisk that can hold 2GB of music, photos, etc. Perhaps most importantly to some subscribers: The new handset can play songs that users copy from their own MP3 collections, a functionality not present on current Verizon RAZRs and other popular handsets. But that $1.99 per song fee is still the drawback.

To read more about Verizon's changes to its music download service:
- read this article from The Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)