Verizon tried to set up at classy affair at Tuesday's announcement of its new iPhone. Good luck with that.
Before the show began, there was classy jazz piano music. Guys in dark suits milling about. And a guy from The Daily Show yelling enthusiastic expletives. (He yelled $% YES!) Obviously, he's never been to a tech announcement before.
To be fair, the fever was running high. Verizon bigwig Lowell McAdam wryly noted: "If the press writes something long enough, eventually it becomes true." And so it goes.
In brief: Verizon will offer an iPhone 4G beginning Feb. 3 to existing subscribers and Feb. 10 for the rest of the miserable masses stuck in email jail because of dropped phone calls. Verizon expects its customers to jump on the deal. Of course, Verizon's CDMA service means you won't be able to call and be on the web at the same time, but you've got to weigh what matters. If the service is great, that caveat might not matter.
I expect a chunk of AT&T users take the deal -- $199.99 for the 16GB and $299 for the 32GB version -- even if it means the inevitable termination fees. This will be just because they're tired of everyone else completing an entire phone call without dropping.
As InformationWeek's own Charlie Babcock said to me last night, the current AT&T "iPhone means never having to say goodbye." The phone does it for you.
Aside from the new service, the device is pretty much a regular iPhone 4 except for one standout feature -- the ability to connect up to five wireless devices at a hotspot. Essentially, that turns it into a cool little router. That's something the AT&T iPhone doesn't have -- yet.
So the race is on. The Apple-AT&T exclusivity deal is thankfully over, anld I expect other device makers (Palm, T-Mobile, etc) to join the fray. Look for more details, commentary and actual reviews of the improved service Verizon is promising here at InformationWeek and in this space, as we launch BYTE.
In San Francisco for the upcoming BYTE.com launch, I'm Gina Smith.
Watch David Berlind's video, Screen Capture: Twitter on FIRE During Verizon iPhone Announcement: