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Verizon's Droid Eris offers Android for less

The new HTC Droid Eris for Verizon Wireless offers the Google Android OS for just $99.

HTC Droid Eris
Verizon Wireless

Perhaps Verizon Wireless is trying to scoop itself, but just as it's set to launch its hype-worthy Motorola Droid, the carrier took the wraps off its second Google Android phone, the Droid Eris. The Eris, made by HTC, is a close cousin to Sprint's HTC Hero. It shows a few design differences, but the feature set is largely the same. Yet, unlike the Hero, the Eris is available at the bargain-basement price of $99 with service.

On the outside you'll first notice the 3.2-inch display, which offers seven home screen for full customization. The display is bright and vibrant and it shows the same touch controls at the bottom. The physical controls are similar as well--there's a trackball and Talk and End/power keys--but the Droid Eris is more rectangular than its predecessor and it has a darker color. We also were glad to see the 3.5mm headset jack.

It has a 5-megapixel camera, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, a full HTML browser with Flash Lite, GPS, a digital compass, voice dialing, PC syncing, messaging and e-mail, a personal organizer, and USB mass storage. And, of course, it offers seamless support for Google services. But in a change from the Hero, the Droid Eris also has a proximity sensor.

The Droid Eris will go on sale November 6 for $99 with a two-year contract and after a $100 mail-in rebate. Needless to say, that price makes it the cheapest Android phone available--at least for now. We'll have a full review on Friday, but in the meantime please enjoy these hands-on photos.