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Verizon Showcases 4G LTE Devices & Software

At CES in Las Vegas Thursday, Verizon Wireless showed off its 4G LTE network and some of the 4G LTE devices it will be carrying in the first half of 2011.

Motorola announced two of its upcoming Android devices, the Droid Bionic smartphone and the Motorola Xoom tablet on Wednesday. Those two devices, plus Android-powered gear from LG, HTC and Samsung, were on display as the nation’s largest carrier outlaid its 4G LTE expansion strategy.

A month after launching the first phase of its LTE network, Verizon is ready to start rolling out the network to more cities, and it’s also offering up some very attractive devices and software.

Verizon Wireless president and CEO Dan Mead called this “the next evolution of 4G LTE for consumers.” Verizon expects to have the United States covered for 4G LTE access within the next 36 months and to double in size in the next 18 months. Throughout 2011 the company will be rolling out 4G LTE in tons of cities — large and small, urban and rural.

Verizon says its goal of 5 to 12 megabits per second speed is already being achieved now and the company will be able to sustain these speeds as the network expands.

Show Us the Devices

It’s CES, so as cool as the rollout of 4G LTE might be, we really want to see the goodies. Verizon didn’t disappoint, showcasing executives from LG, Samsung and HTC on stage — plus featuring a more in-depth hands-on at a separate conference with Motorola.

Each 4G LTE device on display was powered by Android. In fact, Apple was conspicuously absent from discussions or passing mentions. Rumors of a Verizon iPhone continue to fly fast and furious — but at Verizon’s CES events, it’s as if one of the world’s biggest technology companies simply doesn’t exist.

Here’s a rundown of each of the devices announced by Verizon 4G LTE hardware partners:


Samsung will be brining three Verizon 4G LTE devices to market in the next six months: A smartphone, a tablet and a wireless hotspot.

The smartphone was simply dubbed the Samsung 4G LTE smartphone.

It features:

  • Android 2.2 (a.k.a. Froyo), Google Mobile services
  • 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus touchscreen
  • 1 GHz processor
  • HTML5 web browser
  • Rear 8-megapixel camera and 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera

In other words, this looks like a souped-up Nexus S with the power to support 4G LTE.

Samsung also announced it will be releasing a 4G LTE version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. The specifications seem to be the same as the 3G Galaxy Tab, just with the added benefits of 4G LTE.

The final device is a 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot that doubles as a five-device Wi-Fi access point, working with both Verizon 3G and 4G LTE.


LG announced the LG Revolution, a 4G LTE smartphone running Android 2.2, featuring a 4.3-inch screen and offering support for video telephony, the ability to act as a mobile hotspot for up to eight Wi-Fi devices, and support for HD streaming, playing and recording.


HTC showed off the HTC ThunderBolt, HTC’s first 4G LTE device. The HTC executive dubbed the device “blazing fast.” It supports Skype mobile with video, has a 4.3-inch WVGA display, wireless DLNA support and an eight megapixel camera.


Motorola revealed the details of the Droid Bionic and the Motorola Xoom on Wednesday, but as a refresher:

The Droid Bionic is a dual core smartphone with 512 MB of RAM, a 4.3-inch HD quality screen, HDMI out, support for Adobe Flash and HTML5 and front and rear cameras.

The Motorola Xoom is a 10.1-inch, HD 4G LTE upgradable tablet. This means that the tablet will ship with 3G support but get a 4G upgrade via software.

The device has dual cameras, 1GB of RAM, can act as a Wi-Fi hotspot and of course runs Google’s Android Honeycomb.

Other Products

In addition to smartphones and tablets, notebooks and netbooks from HP and Compaq will feature built-in 4G LTE access.


In addition to showcasing the hardware power of 4G LTE, Verizon also demoed some of the new software that will take advantage of the faster network.

The biggest news was from Skype. Skype says it will be bringing Skype mobile with video to all 4G LTE handsets. This software will support IM, video and audio calls.

Skype will be integrated into the devices and will be “always on,” which should make the process of making or receiving Skype calls much more seamless. Skype will also be fully integrated into the address book, meaning you can see a contact’s Skype status message and easily call, video or IM them directly from your dialer.

Electronic Arts also demoed some of its games that will be playable and connectable across 4G LTE devices.

Wrapping Up

We’ve already discussed our thoughts on the role LTE will play in the future of mobile, and Verizon’s announcements underscored its power and importance.

The fact that having mobile devices that connect at broadband speeds without needing a Wi-Fi connection is just around the corner is exciting. From a purely selfish point of view, covering events like CES will be much easier when my cell phone or tablet can offer me a truly fast data connection.

Verizon didn’t touch on two key issues in its 4G LTE rollout strategy: Price and data caps. Having fast access is a gift and a curse if that access is limited or if the price is exorbitantly expensive.

Still, this was a good showing by Verizon and a good sign for the future of 4G.

Check out our gallery of the Motorola Xoom tablet:

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