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CES: Verizon Wireless touts big LTE ecosystem, showcasing 10 devices and LTE apps

Samsung, HTC, LG, HP and Novatel contribute to Verizon’s growing LTE portfolio, while app developers began exploring the network’s high-speed capabilities

LAS VEGAS -- Motorola’s two LTE handhelds turned out to be just the fraction of the Verizon Wireless’ new mobile broadband device portfolio and ecosystem-building effort. At a media event Thursday at CES, Verizon Wireless previewed a whopping 10 long-term evolution (long-term evolution) handsets, tablets, laptops and broadband routers, as well as several applications designed to take advantage of LTE’s unique features.

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In addition to the new Motorola Bionic Android smartphone and the Xoom, a 3G tablet launching in February that can be hardware upgraded to LTE, Verizon showed off three more Android handsets, the HTC Thunderbolt, the LG Revolution and a yet unnamed Samsung handset, as well as an LTE notebook PC and the Compaq CQ10-688nr netbook. Novatel chipped in an LTE version of its MiFi wireless router, and Samsung is delivering its own WiFi mobile broadband router, bringing it device contribution number to 3.
Apart from the devices themselves, though, VZW demonstrated the early work it’s done with its developer partners to tailor applications for LTE.

Skype announced a real-time video chat application for the new devices, which will take advantage of LTE’s high-speed uplink and sub-30 millisecond latency to power a near real time mobile video calling service. VZW plans to use the service across its LTE device portfolio, expanding its already close relationship with Skype.

Electronics Arts also used the “blazing speeds” of LTE to explore mobile applications that wouldn’t have been possible on slower networks. EA vice president of worldwide studios Travis Boatman previewed a new mobile version of EA’s popular game Rock Band, using the LTE connection to link four smartphones, each acting as a separate instrument in a networked jam session. “You’re going to be able to leverage the speed and availability of the LTE network to form a band,” Boatman said.

Verizon didn’t release any pricing details for the new devices or any specific launch timelines. Chief Marketing Officer Marni Walden said all of the devices will be available by the end of the second quarter though at least one device will be available as soon as March.

Verizon CEO Dan Mead also indicated that data pricing wouldn’t change drastically for the new mobile broadband handsets. “As we come to market you’ll see pricing plans that you’re used to,” he said. For the tablets that would likely mean the same usage-based data plans VZW offers for its LTE laptop cards and 3G tablet services. For smartphones , that would mean unlimited usage. Mead, however, said VZW that its data pricing strategy isn’t necessarily set in stone, adding VZW could revisit plan pricing at a later date.

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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