Smartphone war heats up: AT&T sues, Verizon launches stealth fighters

Last week, we discussed how Verizon Wireless is consciously trying to associate its forthcoming Droid smartphone series with a more macho identity than Apple's iPhone, long-linked to the "geek chic" aesthetic. In its new ad, "Stealth," Verizon continues in this direction with a militaristic spot that depicts an air-wing of Stealth fighters launching Droid-containing missiles into the American landscape to the bewilderment of locals.

But the real combat is taking place off the air, where AT&T has filed a lawsuit against Verizon Wireless charging that Big Red's "There's a Map for That" campaign -- which highlights AT&T's spotty 3G coverage -- is "misleading." The air and legal warfare illustrate the competitive ferocity of the mobile phone market heading into the holidays.