Product launch of the week: The Verizon Samsung Juke

Nearly everything about Samsung's new Juke phone screams iPod Shuffle rip off, including its long narrow design and click wheel.

Nearly everything about Samsung's new Juke phone screams iPod Shuffle rip off, including its long narrow design and click wheel. Even that slightly annoying commercial for the Juke featuring dancers holding the phone/MP3 player looks as if it's a direct inspiration from Apple's iPod commercials. In fact the only thing really missing from the Juke commercial is the famous Apple silhouettes. But can you really blame Samsung? And they are not the only ones releasing new phones and MP3 and digital music players that are mimicking the look of Apple's products.

The Juke is available exclusively through Verizon. When the phone is closed and in MP3 mode is when it most resembles the Shuffle. It opens like a switchblade to become a phone. Verizon's dancing commercial is on every five minutes, but will that be enough for the Juke to establish a presence in the wireless segment? Early reviews of the phone are mixed. BusinessWeek called the phone switchblade cool saying it would be great for teens, while CNet felt there were a few flaws including its lack of access to V Cast Music, Verizon's wireless music service. And the blog MyCellPhoneBlog.com, said the Juke was successful at being an MP3 player but its lack of good reception and sound quality made it a sub par phone.

The PR component of the launch, which was handled by MWW Group, included media outreach, editorial giveaways and a mall tour in ten markets starting the weekend of Nov. 16.

The Juke is just one of four phones Verizon is going to make available during the holiday season. Accompanying the Juke will be the Pearl by Blackberry, and the Venus and Voyager, both by LG.

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