A glimpse of Verizon's new 4G LTE devices


Talk about whetting your appetite! Verizon Wireless today showed off 10 new devices that will soon be available to customers on its 4G Long Term Evolution network.

The suite of devices includes four smart phones, two tablet computers, two mobile hot spots and two laptop computers. Verizon executives unveiled the gadgets during a press event on the first day of the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

All of the devices will use Google’s Android operating system. The company gave no specifics on when the devices will launch, saying only that some will be available by March and that all will be available before the end of the second quarter.

The company also gave no device prices or data plan updates. The 4G LTE network launched just more than a month ago with two universal serial bus modems to be used with laptop computers. Current rate plans are $50 for 5 gigabytes of data transferred and $80 for 10GB, with a $10 per GB of data charge for overages.

The Verizon 4G LTE network is getting positive reviews, although the data charges could be very high for people who watch a lot of streaming video, listen to a lot of streaming music or make face-to-face calls.

The network now serves 38 markets in the United States, making it available to about 100 million customers. Verizon President and CEO Dan Mead said the network will double in the next 18 months and will be built out in three years. More than 175 markets will be covered by the end of the year, serving more than 200 million Americans.

Several companies, including LG, HTC, Motorola and Samsung manufacture the 10 new LTE devices. Electronic Arts, which makes many popular computer games, demonstrated Rock Band Mobile, which will let up to four players play the game from anywhere within the network.

Meanwhile, Motorola showed off a 10.1-inch tablet computer. But working models were not available at the press event.

The Verizon 4G LTE network provides Internet connectivity at speeds 10- to 20-times faster than the 3G network. Verizon Chief Technology Officer Tony Melone said his company’s network is designed to deliver download speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second and will handle the demand as more devices tap into the network.

There was no mention of Apple's iPhone coming to Verizon wireless, but the Internet rumor mill is rife with speculation.

Stay tuned.

Photographers gather around the 10 new devices that will be coming soon to the Verizon 4G LTE network during a Thursday press event at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show. (Al Gibes photo)