Verizon’s Bite of Chocolate

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Verizon is the first U.S. carrier to start selling LG’s hot new ‘Chocolate’ phone, which Verizon customers can buy online today and in stores starting August 7th. Verizon says the deal is exclusive, and that it will be the only carrier in the U.S. to sell the device. LG is trying really hard to position Chocolate as its RAZR — a genre-busting design that becomes a brand unto itself.

Maybe its working – the LG/Verizon press release says there have been one million Chocolate phones sold worldwide already. That’s pittance compared to the tens of millions of RAZRs that have helped Motorola complete its turnaround.

The new phone is part of Verizon’s plan to give its VCAST music service a boost. The Chocolate comes pre-loaded and has an iPod-style click wheel. In addition Verizon says it will drop its monthly music charge fee, for which Verizon used to charge $15 a month service fee. VCAST has been a pretty slow starter out of the gate. Verizon won’t say how many music tracks its sold, but estimates are around 3 million.

That should cause further headaches to new MVNOs, Amp’d and Helio that seem to be having trouble lately. Verizon’s design-conscious, and media-savvy moves are squarely targeting the younger demographic, the bread-and-butter for the new MVNOs. Some MVNO’s business models are based on the idea that carriers like Verizon can’t sell youth-targeted data services as well as these niche players, and don’t have cool phones. Well, Chocolate addresses that issue… for now.

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Jesse Kopelman

Other than it being black instead of white, this is pretty much the iPhone people were expecting Apple to put out the last year or two.

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