YOU ARE AT:WirelessMoto's Krave touchscreen phone now available in U.S. at VZW: Gadget based...

Moto’s Krave touchscreen phone now available in U.S. at VZW: Gadget based on Ming, a popular model launched in China in early 2006

Motorola Inc. announced its first touchscreen phone for the U.S., called the Krave, with Verizon Wireless on Tuesday. The phone is now available for $150 with a mail-in rebate.

The phone is a variant of the Ming, a popular model launched in China in early 2006 that predated Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone but was never released in the U.S.

The Krave is a flip phone with a clear plastic cover that covers the touchscreen. It has different software than the Ming, and the Krave doesn’t use a stylus like its counterpart sold in Asia.

Motorola has been under pressure to release a touchscreen phone since the launch of the first iPhone more than a year ago. Since then, rivals such as LG Electronics Co. Ltd. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. have grabbed marketshare from Motorola by launching touchscreen phones.

In recent weeks, Research in Motion Ltd. announced a touchscreen version of its popular BlackBerry called the Storm, which will be available later this year. On Oct. 3, Nokia, the world’s largest phone maker, announced its first touchscreen phone.

The Moto Krave joins a large and growing list of new phones coming out ahead of the critical fourth-quarter holiday season. In the past two days alone a range of new phones were announced, including:

–Pantech Matrix at AT&T Mobility, for $80 after a mail-in rebate, which features a dual-sliding, double-keypad design;

–Samsung Propel at AT&T Mobility, for $80 after a mail-in rebate, which features a slide-out QWERTY keypad;

–The Samsung JetSet at Leap Wireless International Inc., for $200, which supports the carrier’s AWS spectrum;

–The Pantech Slate at AT&T Mobility, for $50 after a mail-in rebate, which features a thin design and QWERTY keypad;

–And the AT&T Quickfire, for $100 after a mail-in rebate, which features a touchscreen, full keypad and support for the carrier’s 3G network.

John Pletz is a reporter for Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication to RCR Wireless News. Both publications are owned by Crain Communications Inc.

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