Live from Verizon's CES 2011 4G LTE press conference
byDarren Murph||January 6th 2011 at 3:55pmJanuary 6th 2011 3:55 pm
We've here at Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE presser at CES, and we're told our worlds will be changed forever in five minutes. Or something to that effect.
4:56PM That'll do it! Things are wrapping up here, so we're going to see if we can't get a closer look at the stash revealed here. And to find out whatever Peter Chou ran out to.
4:56PM "What are you plans with tethering with regard to LTE?" Marci: "Most of our devices will have mobile hotspot functionality, but we aren't prepared to discuss tethering just yet."
4:55PM There's a question on net neutrality regarding LTE. Verizon's saying that an "unfettered development environment" is the right thing to have, and "they don't need a lot of heavy intervention." That said, it's interested in having dialog with the "folks in Washington," but it's pretty clear the company isn't a fan.
4:54PM "Are all of the phones you showed today running Android?" Marci answered: "Yes, they are."
4:53PM "Will there be data caps on the LTE smartphone plans?" Lots of stuttering. "No decisions there, it might be the right thing to do." More stuttering. No real answers. "Caps may make sense at some point in time." Our translation? Yeah, you can bet your bottom dollar there will be smartphone caps.
4:52PM Will devices support simultaneous voice and data? "Some of them, but not all" in the first wave. No specifics on which, though.
4:51PM Cross-compatibility on networks is next on the docket. Verizon's suggesting that devices sold on its network will be able to accept SIMs from other operators, complying with the open access requirements.
4:50PM The whole crew was just asking about pricing. No announcements today on rate plans nor on devices, at least not on plans that aren't already in the market. Boo.
4:50PM Verizon's confident that battery life won't be an issue, but Tony Malone's not coming close to handing out any hard figures. He also went on to say that global roaming with these won't be an issue. Huzzah!
4:49PM Our own Myriam Joire is up next asking about battery life.
4:48PM First question: "Will we see speed drops once loads of 4G devices hit the airwaves?" Verizon's insisting that it's original claims of 5Mbps to 12Mbps down were "based on a loaded network." So no, there shouldn't be any drops once the entire world buys in.
4:47PM Q&A time!
4:46PM Again, we're told that all of these devices will be out in the first half of the year, with "some" to ship as early as March.
4:46PM And now for what Motorola announced yesterday: the Xoom tablet and Droid Bionic.
4:45PM HP Pavilion with 4G, HP Compaq netbook (around three pounds), a Novatel Wireless MiFi (works with both 3G and 4G, shares with up to five people).
4:45PM Marni's back out with "a couple of other" products!
4:44PM The mobile hotspot provides LTE to up to five devices at a time over WiFi, and it looks just marginally larger than the Verizon MiFi 2200 (3G) sold right now.
4:43PM This one's got a 1.2GHz processor (Hummingbird)!
4:43PM Dude just busted out a Galaxy Tab from his coat pocket. Nice.
4:43PM 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus display on the phone. Increased color, improved visibility. 8MP rear-facing camea, HD-quality video recording, and a 1.3MP front-facing camera for video calling. And yet, no name.
4:42PM Samsung's introducting its 4G-enabled Galaxy Tab, 4G mobile hotspot and a still-unnamed smartphone. Seriously, the mystery is killing us. Softly.
4:41PM Three new devices from Samsung! Likely a netbook, the Galaxy Tab and a Samsung-branded phone that we've been teased with already.
4:40PM Someone totally just nailed a Bb instead of an Em. Boo.
4:40PM The demo? Four friends "jamming over the network," with a lot more coming from Electronic Arts. It's fairly obvious that 4G will finally enable multiplayer mobile gaming without the need for a WiFi signal, but of course, it remains to be seen how well this will work in practice.
4:39PM EA's promising that its mobile game lineup has "something for everyone." He's talking up the benefits of having a 4G network behind the devices, with Rock Band Mobile being addressed in particular.
4:38PM EA's VP of Worldwide Studios -- Travis Boatman -- just rowed on stage. Kidding. Maybe.
4:37PM Peter's giving props to Qualcomm, VZW and Google engineers for working together to make it all come together. His closing remarks? "This is just the beginning." Yes it is Peter, yes it is.
4:36PM This one's rocking a 4.3-inch Super LCD, which is a first for the consumer industry.
4:35PM Peter's got one on stage. It's HTC's first 4G LTE phone, and Chou himself has been using it "as his personal device" to ensure all of the kinks were worked out. According to him, it's "blazing fast." We have to wonder how well that CDMA module works over in Taiwan, though...
4:34PM Ah, ha! The HTC ThunderBolt is shown here behind Peter. Doesn't get much more official than this.
4:34PM Peter Chou, CEO of HTC, just rolled out to some serious gangster music. We should probably roll up our left pant leg.
4:33PM Naturally, it'll be "always on" in the background, with the goal being to nix the planning that has been needed in the past to effectively have a solid video call.
4:32PM The new version of Skype Mobile will be "deeply integrated" into forthcoming Verizon 4G smartphones. Sort of like Qik into the T-Mobile G2, or the N900's tight integration with the contact list.
4:31PM Skype's demonstrating Skype-to-Skype video calls on a rendering of the HTC ThunderBolt.
4:30PM Next up? CEO of Skype, Tony Bates. Looking sharp, nice accent. We like this guy.
4:30PM Looks a bit like the Incredible, a few silver accents on the edges, touch-sensitive buttons along the bottom. Sadly, Dr. Park bolted before divulging any other details.
4:29PM The LG Revolution. A fitting name. It's LG's first 4G smartphone, obviously rolling on VZW's LTE network.
4:29PM Lookie here -- talking about LG's contribution to Verizon's consumer device rollout.
4:28PM Here comes Dr. Park, CEO of LG's Mobile Communications Company.
4:28PM "It's not just about doing things faster, it's about doing things you couldn't do before." Can a get an amen from the peanut gallery?
4:27PM Marni's on deck to talk details.
4:27PM All of these devices will be available by mid-2011. Four smartphones, two tablets, two mobile hotspots and two laptops are on stage.
4:26PM Ah, here we go -- game time. Here come the device introductions! All three execs on stage. Intense bass. We're a little frightened.
4:25PM 38 major markets are covered now. Verizon's promise? 36 months, America will be blanketed. Two-thirds of the population should be in range by 2012. Little Rock, Detroit, St. George. Nah, not St. George. Yet.
4:24PM Customer feedback: VZW's LTE was faster than their in-home broadband connection. Clearly said customer is using Time Warner Cable in the Raleigh, NC area. Not saying we've got experience or anything.
4:23PM Verizon's seeing 30ms of latency and around 1.3Mbps on the edge of the cell site, which is right around what it expected and promised when it was building things out last year at CTIA.
4:22PM A few subtle slights to HSPA+ and other "4G" technologies. Let's keep it classy, guys.
4:21PM Verizon's being real honest with itself: it expected speedbumsp along the way, but Tony's telling us now that customer feedback has been overwhelming positive. "Few and far between" are said speedbumps.
4:20PM Tony Malone, the Chief Technology Officer and Chief Architect of the LTE network, it stepping up on stage.
4:20PM "The best network." That's Verizon's goal, and it's "committed to being the best." Dan just stated that Verizon's end-game was never focused on being first to LTE; rather, it's aiming to be best out there over the long-hail. "Do our best today, do even better tomorrow."
4:19PM Who's 4G good for? businesses, consumers, technology, and America. And rural America. Casper, Wyoming -- you in the house, or what?
4:18PM Onto rural broadband: Verizon's hot to trot on rural carriers in America, hoping to bring 4G broadband to places with more pigs than people. Blueglass Cellular is the first of three rural broadband agreements to be nailed down, but the other two remain unnamed.
4:17PM Dan Mead's back up discussing the famed three-year journey. The 700MHz spectrum is the current topic of conversation, with it being deemed a "tremendous enabler" with it comes to LTE deployment.
4:16PM Here's hoping we'll get more formally introduced to that one here in just a moment...
4:16PM Loads of partners taking up Big Red here -- NVIDIA's CEO made a stop, as did Samsung's head honcho. The latter just showed a Samsung-branded LTE phone!
4:15PM Ron Smith, president of Blueglass Wireless, is extolling the benefits of having LTE in "rural areas," with VZW helping to take a big leap in providing broadband to places previously overrun with AOL 56k dial-up discs. Yeah, we said it.
4:14PM Google, Skype, Motorola, LG, Alcatel-Lucent, EA, HP, HTC, Novatel Wireless, Ericsson and Samsung are all being given pats on the back, and Dan's talking up an innovation center that's about to open up in San Francisco. Good call given the state of mobile saturation in the Bay Area.
4:13PM Four pillars to focus on: network, applications, software and devices. "You'll see a lot about the devices today." That's what we like to hear!
4:12PM The focus here? 4G LTE for consumers. It's been a three year journey for Big Red, and they're touting a boatload of partners right now.
4:12PM Dan Mead, Tony Melone and Marnia Walden are taking the stage -- a little Switchfoot to walk 'em in. Man, it just got corporate up in here.
4:11PM Verizon's not being coy about its 4G potential. Talks of "revolutionized" lives, "ruled airwaves," and a platform for innovation that'll eventually hit cars, washing machines, and your future pets. You laugh, but you'll see.
4:09PM Looks like the execs from VZW are running a little behind. Given the Las Vegas traffic we just witnessed, we can't say we're totally surprised. Oh, wait -- is that Droid Bionic there on the left? Here we go...
4:03PM Can't be certain, but we're fairly sure we've got a few Droids keeping watch over us. Also, watching over the marketing execs at T-Mobile and Sprint, and anyone else throwing around the 4G buzzword.
4:00PM Tons of techno music going on here. Lots of red. Lots of lightning. Is this reality?
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.