LG Versa Phone Adds Detachable Keyboard

Hardware keyboard can stay home for a thinner, iPhone-like shape

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LG has an innovative answer to the touchscreen or keyboard debate: The Versa touchscreen phone from Verizon Wireless will have a detachable keyboard that you can leave at home.

Without the keyboard, the phone looks like a slim, iPhone-like model with only a few hardware buttons on its face. The phone then slips into a folding case that adds the keyboard, some protection and some bulk.

Verizon also promises "sizzling" software, including an animated 3D interface that can be customized with different home screens. Most of the rest looks similar to the touchscreen LG Dare that Verizon already sells: camera, Bluetooth, memory card slot and media player.

The Dare sells for $180 after rebate and with contract, while the Versa goes on sale March 1 at $200. An extra $20 for a detachable keyboard seems a no-brainer step up.