The move could be tied to reported plans for Verizon to cut the price of the Curve to $49 in an effort to reach more smartphone shoppers and clear out the inventory before the new model arrives. Year-end holiday sales are the make or break times for phone makers and telcos. The pressure is even greater in the smartphone segment, as so many players vie for bigger slices of the expanding market. Verizon and RIM could do OK in smartphone sales with the new Tour and an updated version of the controversial Storm. But the absence of the Aries, a consumer-oriented phone, in a big mass-market gift-giving season could be a setback at a critical time.