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iPhone Killers?

NOON -- The Voyager and Venus phones from Verizon Wireless are the latest gizmos to be bestowed with the dubious honor of being called "iPhone killers."

The Voyager and Venus are both pretty nifty music-oriented devices, but I think this whole concept of "iPhone killers" misses the point of why Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) -- and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), too -- are capturing the public's mobile imagination.

They have a novelty factor that neither the carriers nor the major device vendors can possibly match. Combine that with some geniune innovation and it makes for some potent sales and marketing mojo. (See The iPhone Arrives.)

It is pretty funny, in fact, that hipper tech brands like Apple have managed to, ahem, make their marquee on the device market in the way that Disney and other large entertainment names had hoped to with their virtual mobile operator service deals in the U.S. Most of these, however, have gone belly up. (See Mobile Mouse Shut Down.)

I suspect this shows that it is far easier to market a bevy of fancy content services around an iconic device rather than launch a whole new branded mobile service, albeit one running on another carrier's network. This might prove to be something that Google should remember if it does go ahead with a bid for 700 MHz wireless broadband spectrum in January 2008. (See Google Preps Broadband Bid.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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