Novatel? Yes. Sierra Wireless? Sure. Pantech? Definitely -- but one company we didn't really expect to be launching a pocketable mobile hotspot on an American carrier was Samsung. Sure enough, Sammy is hooking up with Verizon to rock the carrier's very first mobile hotspot product to be announced with LTE compatibility, a crucial feature that should give the Sprint Overdrives and 3G / 4G MiFis of the world a run for their collective money. Though it lacks a creative name, the so-called 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is precisely as described with a dash of CDMA / EV-DO compatibility thrown in for those rare occasions when you stray outside your local LTE footprint. We don't have a price or date yet, but there's not a lot of rocket science here compared to... say, the Inspiration, so hopefully it won't be long.

Though we didn't have a chance to put it through a live test, we've had our hands on this little device already and we can say it's basically a dead ringer for the CDMA version of the first-generation Novatel MiFi as sold on Verizon, Sprint, and others. The only change, really, is that it feels a bit thicker, a bit more "solid," and a bit heavier, but not nearly enough to make a practical difference -- you'll still gladly throw this thing in your pocket when you need a cloud of steamy hot WiFi in your vicinity. Follow the break for the full press release.

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VERIZON WIRELESS KEEPS CUSTOMERS CONNECTED WITH THE SAMSUNG 4G LTE MOBILE HOTSPOT

Mobile Hotspot Fits Easily In a Purse or Pocket to Provide Mobile Broadband Speeds to Five Wi-Fi Enabled Devices at a Time

LAS VEGAS and BASKING RIDGE, N.J. – From the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Verizon Wireless and Samsung Telecommunications America (Samsung Mobile) today announced that the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot will be available on the Verizon 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network.

The dual-mode Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot works as a wireless access point connecting up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices to the 4G LTE network at the same time. Verizon Wireless customers can expect download speeds of 5 to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 2 to 5 Mbps in 4G Mobile Broadband coverage areas. The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot is also backward compatible with Verizon Wireless' 3G network.

"By harnessing the power and speed of the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network, our customers have a trusted source of connectivity with the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot," said Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer for Verizon Wireless. "We're expanding our portfolio of 4G LTE-capable devices to provide power and portability to our customers so that they'll stay connected on the go."

The Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network, launched in December 2010, is the fastest, most advanced 4G network in the United States, providing speeds up to 10 times faster than Verizon Wireless' 3G network. Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE Mobile Broadband network currently reaches one-third of all Americans, with plans to expand the network to the company's entire 3G coverage area over the next three years.

The Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot will be on display at CES 2011 in Verizon Wireless' booth (#35216 in the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center) and in the Samsung booth (#12006 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center). For more information about Verizon Wireless' 4G LTE network, visit www.verizonwireless.com/lte and for more information about Verizon Wireless at CES, please visit www.verizonwireless.com/ces or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/verizonwireless. For more information about the Samsung 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot, visit www.samsung.com.