Mobile

Verizon's 4G future: 10 LTE devices from Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and others

Verizon Wireless is gearing up to get more devices on its recently launched LTE 4G network. The company today announced 10 LTE 4G devices at the Consumer Electronics Show, all of which will be available in the first half of 2011.

The company showed off four smartphones, two tablets, two mobile hotspots and two notebooks with LTE 4G capabilities — a big improvement over its current batch of LTE devices, which thus far amounts to several USB modems.

LTE, short for Long-Term Evolution, is a wireless technology capable of significantly faster speeds than current 3G, or third-generation, wireless-network technologies. Its main competition is WiMax, though LTE appears to be winning the standards race.

As expected, HTC’s Thunderbolt was announced, and we also saw the LG Revolution, Motorola Bionic and Xoom tablet, and several devices from Samsung — including a new 4.3-inch smartphone, a mobile hotspot and a LTE Galaxy Tab. In terms of computers, Verizon showed off an HP Pavilion notebook and a Compaq netbook. There’s also an LTE version of the Novatel Mifi, which lets you share the LTE connection with up to five other devices.

Verizon also brought representatives from Skype and Activision on stage to demonstrate how they will take advantage of 4G speeds. Skype says that its next mobile version will be “deeply integrated” into Verizon’s 4G phones (and we assume tablets), all of which feature front-facing cameras for video conferencing. Activision showed how 4G could benefit multiplayer in mobile games, using Rock Band Mobile as an example.

I had brief chance to play around with the Thunderbolt, and it felt just as fast as the Nexus S. In a live bandwidth speed test, the phone got an average download speed of around 18Mbps, and an upload speed of around 2Mbps.

Verizon was still coy about how the LTE phones would manage simultaneous voice and data connections. Some phones would support simultaneous data/voice, while others won’t. No real explanation was given for the discrepancy. The company also isn’t ready to talk about its 4G pricing plans yet.

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