I have many a friend on the Verizon network who have lusted after the iPhone, but weren’t convinced a CDMA version of the popular Apple handset would ever come to fruition. As a result, they cashed in their chips and upgraded to an Android or BlackBerry device. Now they’re banging their head against the wall because they had always wanted to try an iPhone and are no longer eligible for an upgrade.

There is some good news for folks that find themselves in this exact situation. Verizon will give customers a $200 gift card if you swap your current phone for an iPhone. The downside: customers will have to pay full retail price for said iPhone. This has been reported by numerous media, but the confirmation resides on Verizon’s iPhone FAQ page. The magical number for these customers is number 9, as in the ninth point on this FAQ page as seen below.

9. I just purchased a new smartphone during the holiday season, but if I knew that iPhone 4 was going to be available soon I would have waited. What are my options now?
Current Verizon customers who purchased and activated new smartphones, feature phones or certified pre-owned phones between 11/26/2010, and 01/10/2011, are eligible to receive up to a $200 Visa debit card when they purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price by 02/28/2011 and return their existing phone. Note: This offer is only available on consumer accounts with five lines or less, who are purchasing iPhone 4 through Verizon Wireless retail stores, telesales, or through verizonwireless.com.

In recap, if you purchased and activated a Verizon smartphone between Nov 26, 2010 and Jan. 10, 2011, you will be eligible to receive a $200 Visa gift card when you purchase an iPhone 4 at full retail price (no subsidies), by Feb. 28, 2011 and return your existing handset.

The next question will be, “What if you bought a phone before Nov. 26, 2010 and are now stuck in a contract?” Well, Verizon offers a Wireless Trade-In Program that will calculate the value of your current handset and offer you a gift card for that amount. For example, I calculated how a Droid X in fully operational condition would be appraised with the program, and it came back with $96. Not a great price, and frankly, you could get more selling it yourself, but if you don’t want to go through that hassle this is a viable option.

I can’t imagine this $200 gift card deal for your device is making the folks over at Google very happy. I mean Verizon has been hanging their hat on the Android operating system for a few years now, and not a week after announcing the iPhone, Android is being pushed out the back door with the trash.

How do you think this will affect the relationship between Verizon and Google? Good, bad or indifferent?

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