Verizon's Chocolate cell phone to challenge iPod

Verizon Wireless announced a digital music player called “Chocolate” Monday, using a cell phone made by LG Electronics to play songs downloaded over Verizon’s wireless network.

With its circular scroll pad, the device looks like Apple’s iPod MP3 player, adding another player to an increasingly crowded market. Microsoft announced July 21 it would soon release a digital music player called “Zune.”

Verizon’s Chocolate will probably differ from both products in that it uses wireless links both to download and to play music, supporting a Bluetooth-enabled headset. The device also doubles as a cell phone, with third-generation features like games, music videos, television clips, global positioning system navigation, and a camera.

verizon chocolate
The device has comparable storage to Apple’s 1GB iPod shuffle or 2GB iPod nano designs. With its expandable memory port, the Chocolate could store up to 1,000 songs on a 2GB microSD memory card, such as those made by SanDisk.

“While this may not be the first product of its kind, the idea of blending a phone and a music player makes sense. It looks sort of like a thick iPod with a phone, stores 1,000 songs and has a cool name, Chocolate. This product should be hottest among young adults,” said Jeff Kagan, a telecommunications industry analyst.

Consumer electronics makers have been talking about convergence for years, as they launch products that combine the features of PDAs, mobile phones, video game players, and cameras. Since many users carry several of those devices at once, Verizon’s Chocolate could be popular merely by reducing their load.

“We carry too many devices, and if a manufacturer can do a good job of blending multiple devices into one, it should be popular,” Kagan said.

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