"We think it'll be the best phone ... this year. It will kill the iPhone," Verizon (NYSE: VZ) Wireless Chief Marketing Officer Mike Lanman said of his company's new LG manufactured handset. Reuters writes that Verizon will launch the new phone for the holidays. It will have a touchscreen keypad and full web browser.
But, the new handheld will be from LG, not Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL). Verizon management decided to speak before they thought. Its new handset may do fine, but the iPhone is not a handset, it is an experience. Verizon should know that. The iPhone is part of the iPod and iTunes way of life. People don't just own an iPhone because it is a nice piece of equipment. They own it because Apple made it.
The new Verizon handset will have a hinge that opens to a second screen with a normal keypad. Just in case people want to go "old style." In other words, the new phone is a compromise, not part of a revolution to change the cellular industry.
As one analyst told Reuters, "People who want a high-end media phone and want to stay with Verizon will certainly give that one a hard look. I don't know that it would pull anybody away from an iPhone." Meaning, all Verizon is doing is keeping some of its own customers, which is a worthy goal all by itself. The LG handset may be no more than a defensive move to keep customers from leaving to AT&T (NYSE: T) to get the Apple product.
Verizon's LG phone is like the Zune. It may work fine, but it is not from Apple. It does not have access to iTunes. It's lame.
Douglas A. McIntyre is a partner at 24/7 Wall St.