NTT DoCoMo launches, no joke, 28 phones; pegs December 24th for LTE launch

NTT DoCoMo and its Japanese competitors have a long, rich history of announcing dozens of new phones in one fell swoop, but the carrier is saying that its latest line -- comprised of a mind-bending 28 devices -- is its largest single launch ever. We've already told you about a couple of the notables (and some of these we saw at CEATEC not long ago), but the company proudly proclaims that the lineup includes 11 waterproof units, three that can function as WiFi hotspots, 10 with touchscreens, nine that shoot HD video, and five capable of shooting 1080p. Perhaps even more notably, though, NTT DoCoMo is sharing details of the launch of its so-called Xi network -- the consumer brand for its LTE airwaves -- and it turns out locals will be able to get in on the action come December 24th, initially in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka. Interestingly, there will be no unlimited data plans offered on Xi; when you consider that the service is billed as being ten times faster than FOMA with downlink speeds of up to 75Mbps, that's a little disconcerting -- but if you're not scared off, you'll be able to choose from a USB modem and an ExpressCard at launch.