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HTC to Sell ‘Rhyme’ Mobile Phone at Verizon Stores for $199

HTC Corp. will introduce a smartphone called Rhyme on Sept. 29 to be sold through Verizon Wireless for $199, said Marni Walden, chief marketing officer for the mobile carrier.

The phone will be available globally in October, HTC said today in a statement. With a 3.7-inch (9.4 centimeters) display, the device has a 5-megapixel camera and allows users to download movies and television shows for instant viewing. Accessories include a so-called charm, a light-emitting cube attached to the phone that glows to signal incoming calls or messages.

HTC is targeting customers who are not technology enthusiasts with this model, said Charles Golvin, principal analyst with Forrester Research Inc.

“Much of the growth of the smartphone market is coming from this segment,” Golvin said today in a telephone interview. The initial price is “a bit high” and Verizon may have to offer discounts to woo buyers, he said. Verizon sells Apple Inc.’s iPhone 4 for $199.99 with a two-year contract.

“Rhyme would sell better at lower prices like $140 or $150,” Golvin said.

Walden, who is also a vice president at Verizon Wireless, introduced the Rhyme phone today at an event with reporters in New York.

HTC, based in Taoyuan, Taiwan, gained 1.9 percent to NT$762 in local trading. Verizon Communications Inc., which owns Verizon Wireless with Vodafone Group Plc, rose 13 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $36.41 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

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