@ CES 2012: Verizon Wireless bolsters LTE line up


LAS VEGAS – One year after unveiling its first smartphones compatible with its nascent LTE network, Verizon Wireless (VZ) used the 2012 edition of the Consumer Electronics Show to show off new models compatible with its network that now covers more than 200 million potential customers – when it’s working.

The new devices include three smartphones, a mini-tablet and a pair of mobile hotspot devices, all compatible with the carriers LTE offering. The smartphones included the Motorola Droid 4, Droid Razr Maxx and LG Spectrum, all running Google’s Android operating system, which remains a viable alternative to Apple’s dominating iPhone model at the carrier.

The Droid 4 adds LTE capabilities to the previous Droid 3 model while keeping its five-row, slide-out keyboard. The device also includes a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor, runs Google’s Android 2.3 OS that will be upgraded at some point to Android 4.0, and an 8-megapixel rear camera along with a front camera for video calling. Verizon Wireless added that the device will also feature a “water-repellent nanocoating for splash resistance.” Pricing for the device was not set, with a launch date in the “coming weeks.”

The Droid Razr Maxx adds a thicker battery to the ultra-slim Droid Razr, which the carrier said extends talk time to 21 hours. The device comes in at just under 9 millimeters thick, includes the same features as the standard Droid Razr, which lacked a replaceable battery, and will sell for $300 with a two-year contract.

The LG Spectrum sports a 4.5-inch screen touting a “True HD In-Plane Switching display,” that is also used on LG’s HD televisions. To highlight the screen’s capabilities, Verizon Wireless has embedded the device with access to ESPN’s HD ScoreCenter application that provides high definition video clips when using either a Wi-Fi connection or the carrier’s LTE network.

The Spectrum also runs 1.5 GHz dual-core processor from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon line, Android 2.3 with a planned upgrade to Android 4.0 during the first half of the year, and an 8-megapixel rear with a 1.3-megapixel front camera. The device will be available on Jan. 19 for $200 with a two-year contract.

Verizon Wireless also added to its growing cadre of LTE-equipped tablet devices with Samsung’s Galaxy Tab 7.7 joining its previously launched 10.1-inch model. The 7.7-inch model sports a Super AMOLED display capable of producing 720p (1280×800) resolution, a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and runs Google’s 3.2 Android OS. Pricing for the device was not announced, with a launch date noted to be in the “coming weeks.”

For its mobile hotspots, Verizon Wireless tapped Novatel Wireless to provide its JetPack MiFi 4620L. The device supports Verizon Wireless’ LTE and CDMA-based 3G networks domestically as well as quad-band EDGE/HSPA technology when abroad.

ZTE is also providing a device for the JetPack family with its EuFi890 model that includes similar network compatibility with the Novatel model. Both mobile hotspots lacked pricing details and are scheduled to be launched in the coming weeks.

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Dan Meyer

Editor-in-Chief, Telecom Software, Policy, Wireless Carriers
Dan Meyer started at RCR Wireless News in 1999 covering wireless carriers and wireless technologies. As editor-in-chief, Dan oversees editorial direction, reports on news from the wireless industry, including telecom software, policy and wireless carriers, and provides opinion stories on topics of concern to the market such as his popular Friday column “Worst of the Week.”