Verizon Wireless and Samsung have introduced the Zeal, a dual-hinge messaging phone that offers more than meets the eye.
Reminiscent of the Samsung Alias 2, the Zeal can be used vertically or horizontally. Hold it vertically and open it like a traditional clamshell, and the keypad, using E Ink technology, offers a straightforward numeric keypad with navigational arrows in the four directions. Open it in landscape mode, however, and the keypad reworks itself into a full QWERTY keypad.
The Zeal supports Microsoft Office Exchange, so users can sync it with corporate e-mail, contacts and calendar information. It can also support all types of messaging-mobile chat, mobile IM, text, picture, video, etc.-as well as mobile and Web-based e-mail. There's a 2-megapixel camera with video capabilities, Bluetooth connectivity and-for an extra fee-the Zeal can support Verizon's VZ Navigator, for turn-by-turn directions, points of interest and the ability to share directions with friends.
A Social Beat widget offers a single point of access for social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, as well as entertainment feeds, there's a Media Center for downloading things such as games, ringtones and location-based information, and it can additionally support Skype mobile.
The Zeal will be available Nov. 11 at Verizon retail and online stores for $80 with a two-year service contract and after a $50 mail-in rebate (that comes in the form of a debit card).
On Nov. 9., for a different crowd, Verizon has also begun selling the Motorola Droid Pro, an Android 2.2-running smartphone intended for enterprise users, as well as consumers. It features a 3.1-inch display, a dedicated QWERTY keypad and VPN support, among other enterprise-friendly features. Also with a rebate and two-year contract, it's priced at $180.