…is of course the price of their toys. I drove down to Roanoke Wednesday to stand in line for 45 minutes to buy Verizon’s new LG Voyager wireless phone, trading in my tired two-year old Palm Trio for the latest gadget.

The Voyager is a sleek phone with an Apple i-Phone like interface on the front but it also opens up to reveal a second screen and a QWERTY-style keyboard for typing email message and other texting functions.

Is it, as Verizon claims, an "i-Phone killer?"  The Voyager is a nice break from the more mundane phones usually offered by Verizon but it is a different machine with different functions. Like the i-Phone, it can download music and the speakers are much better than those on Apple’s device but the touch screen that is used when the phone is closed is neither as bright or as useful.

Still, the operating system is not Windows-based and that, like the i-Phone may be the machine’s most desirable feature. I use a Windows machine only when a specific client’s work demands it and live happily otherwise in a Mac-based world where computers don’t crash, software doesn’t freeze up and virus don’t threaten my data on a daily basis.

The Voyager’s email system is the clunky Verizon Mobile email system which requires logging in to check. Push email is available for another $19.95 a month through the company’s Wireless Sync service but it’s not as elegant or useful as a Blackberry and it requires a Windows-based machine to use.

The Voyager works well in the fringe areas of Floyd County and that’s an improvement over the Trio’s lackluster phone reception.

Overall, I like the Voyager and expect it to be my main wireless phone. In areas where Verizon’s high-speed EDVO Network is available, it is far faster than the i-Phone and that makes it more useful on the road. If you want one phone ahead. The Verizon Store at Valley View expected to run out of their current allotment by early afternoon Wednesday.