- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) — Verizon Wireless is introducing a cell phone that looks a lot like the hottest phone so far this year: Apple Inc.’s IPhone.

Like the IPhone, the LG Voyager features a large touch screen, a camera and extensive multimedia, Web browsing and e-mail capabilities.

However, it one-ups the IPhone by folding open lengthwise to reveal a standard keyboard and a second screen not sensitive to touch. The lack of a hardware keyboard has been one of the main complaints about the IPhone.

The Voyager will connect to Verizon Wireless’ latest data network, providing speeds much higher than the AT&T; network the IPhone uses. The Voyager also has direct access to Verizon Wireless’ online music store.

However, the Voyager will not come with a large built-in memory for songs and video, offering instead a slot for memory cards up to 8 gigabytes. Nor are its screens as large as the IPhone’s.

It’s an open question whether the Voyager can encroach on the IPhone’s cachet or match its ease of use. Apple has sold more than 1 million units since the phone-cum-IPod reached the marketplace June 29.

In announcing its holiday lineup, Verizon Wireless did not say how much the Voyager or three other new phones would cost. It didn’t give a specific debut date, saying only the Voyager would be in stores before Thanksgiving.

Verizon also showed off an LG phone called the Venus. It has two screens on its face, of which the smaller is touch sensitive, with controls for the phone’s music player and camera. The phone slides open to reveal a numeric keypad.

Verizon Wireless is also bringing out a version of the BlackBerry Pearl, with fast data network access. The slim e-mail oriented phone is already available on the slower networks of AT&T; and T-Mobile USA. (Like Verizon, AT&T; has a third-generation cellular broadband network, but it’s not used by the AT&T; Pearl.)

The fourth phone in the lineup is the Juke, by Samsung. A small unit that flips open like a jackknife, it features an IPodlike wheel to control the music player.

Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications Inc. of New York and Vodafone Group PLC of Britain.

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