For some reason Verizon has not attempted to generate any excitement about the new Samsung i760 cell phone/PDA, even though it looks very nice and perhaps is even a worthy competitor to the iPhone. Why is Apple the only company that knows how to market successfully?

The i760 was demonstrated briefly at a trade show early in 2007 and got a bit of attention online, but no information was forthcoming about its release date. Recently Verizon has been marketing new teenybopper phones but drew no attention to the i760 when it appeared on the Verizon web site a few days ago. It is apparently scheduled to be in the Verizon stores next week.

The i760 is a Windows Mobile device with a generous screen and a slideout keyboard, plus an accessible dialpad to use the phone on the fly without exposing the keyboard. Here’s a review with more details and photos. Like all Windows Mobile devices, it can sync directly with Microsoft Exchange Server and display Outlook e-mail, calendar, and contacts far more gracefully than either the iPhone or Blackberry devices. It looks like a solid choice for mobile professionals.

It’s worth noting that the i760 is only available through Verizon at this time. Influential Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg wrote an impassioned column yesterday about the restrictions that cause cell phones to be locked to particular carriers:

“A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.”

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