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Verizon to offer 2 BlackBerrys for price of 1

The deal starts Friday and runs through the end of March.

Verizon BlackBerry Storm
Verizon Wireless

Starting Friday, for every BlackBerry purchased, Verizon Wireless will throw in another for free.

It's a buy-one-get-one-free special that will run until March 31, and it applies to all BlackBerrys--including the brand new Storm. That's what makes this promotion kind of surprising: the touch-screen Storm is Verizon's supposed answer to AT&T and the iPhone and they're giving them away now?

Well, not entirely. The second piece of hardware will be free, but you still have to sign two-year contracts on each phone involved in the deal. And in the long run, Verizon extracts more money from customers through contracts than on hardware. Still, we won't see AT&T doing a two-for-one iPhone deal probably ever.

So why now? Perhaps Verizon just needs to clean out its inventory of BlackBerrys. But the Storm is barely 3 months old and has had its share of problems already. Many customers have complained vociferously about the device's buggy software and problems with the hardware.

Maybe it's not a coincidence then that the Storm software update rolls out March 31 (according to a report on the Boy Genius Report blog), the last day of the promotion?