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Verizon Launches iPhone 4, Available February 10th

Today marks the end of a very, very, very long march towards the Verizon iPhone. Years of fruitless rumors can now be put to rest as the iPhone 4 will soon be available in a CDMA flavor on Big Red's 3G network "early next month." At New York's Lincoln Center, Verizon announced that it began negotiating with Apple to bring the device to the network back in 2008, and that it has been internally testing Apple's iPhone 4 internally for roughly the last year on its nationwide network. Verizon customers will have a choice of iOS, Android or BlackBerry when shopping for a smartphone. It also means that iPhone fans no longer need to sign a contract for AT&T service, which has been the frequent target of reliability complaints since the launch of the original iPhone back in 2007.

The version being offered by Verizon is essentially the same device being offered on AT&T, including the speedy A4 processor, HD video capabilities, Facetime support and Apple's high-resolution retina display. The 16GB model will sell for $199.99 with a two-year agreement (the same deal offered by AT&T) starting on February 10, while the 32GB version will run $299.99. Though, due to limitation of CDMA tech, you won't be able to simultaneously talk on the phone and browse the Web as you can with the AT&T iPhone the Verizon version does have the ability to turn into a Wi-Fi hotspot for up to five other devices, something Android users have enjoyed for sometime now that has been missing on iOS. The question now is, how will AT&T respond to losing its exclusive hold over the iPhone and how will Verizon's network hold up if, as expected, millions of customers flee AT&T and snatch up the Verizon iPhone?

Update: Engadget reports that, thanks to the slightly repositioned volume buttons and mute switch, current iPhone 4 cases and bumpers might not fit the Verizon version. The switch to CDMA necessitated a redesigned antenna, which resulted in the minor shift in placement. So, if you were considering jumping ship to Verizon and just reusing your old iPhone case, you might be forced to throw down for yet another overpriced case.

Tags: apple, cellphones, iphone 4, Iphone4, verizon, verizon iphone, verizon wireless, VerizonIphone, VerizonWireless