Just as our Asian friends are likely starting to tire of their glossy black pearls of LG goodness, we're now getting word that the Chocolate might make its first official US appearance in CDMA form as Verizon's flagship phone. The VX8500, as it'll likely be known, bears a strong resemblance to the original, but appears to lack the checkerboard keypad and trades a square d-pad for a circular, music-friendly design. There's some rampant speculation that the VX8500 is slated for an October launch, but other than that, deets are sketchy. As always, we'll be on the lookout for more solid information.
Update: Like we said, we're on the lookout for more solid information, and Phone Scoop has quickly delivered. Expect the VX8500 to sport a 1.3 megapixel shooter, MicroSD slot, and EV-DO data when it drops, plus an update version of Verizon's much-maligned user interface that supports soft menus for the phone's side keys.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.