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7/26/2011
11:43 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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Verizon Rolls Out LTE Laptop, Tablet

HP's laptop brings 4G Long Term Evolution to mobile computing, but price of Verizon's data plans may feel like a speed trap.

Less than a week after a significant expansion of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G network to more than 100 markets, Verizon Wireless is rolling out two more computing devices with 4G on board.

The laptop comes from HP and is a variant of its Pavilion dm1-3010nr entertainment PC. The new Pavilion laptop ships with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit and it features an 11.6-inch, high-definition HP BrightView LED display at 1366 x 768 pixels. Under the hood, it is powered by a 1.6-GHz AMD dual-core processor, offers 2 GB of RAM, and 320 GB worth of storage with HP's ProtectSmart hard drive protection.

According to HP, the Pavilion measures 1.2-inches thick and includes HP's CoolSense Technology, which is a fancy way of saying that it won't burn your lap. Other specs include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi, VGA webcam and microphone, and a multi-format digital media card reader.

Historically, Verizon has rolled out embedded solutions such as this one with the enterprise in mind. It's notable that this particular product is an entertainment-focused laptop rather than a business machine.

What does the LTE radio provide? Access to Verizon's fastest mobile broadband network. Customers can expect download speeds between 5 and 12 Mbps and upload speeds between 2 and 5 Mbps in 4G mobile broadband coverage areas. (It will fall back to 3G data speeds in areas not covered by LTE 4G.) Verizon and HP envision that users of this device will be streaming movies, music, and happily downloading large files wirelessly.

Verizon Wireless said the HP Pavilion dm1-3010nr will be available starting July 28 for $599. Verizon is requiring a two-year data plan with the laptop, the cheapest of which is $50 per month for 5 GB. If you need more data than that, customers can also choose the $80 plan, which offers 10 GB.

Frankly, those prices stink. Verizon Wireless offers cheaper data options for its other devices. Why mandate a pricey $50 plan? For example, the LTE-equipped version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1, which also goes on sale July 28, can be purchased with a less bank-breaking 2-GB monthly plan for $30.

Is $50 the worst price ever? No, it isn't. For years Verizon Wireless required a $60 monthly plan for laptops and other connected devices, such as laptop modems and mobile hotspots. Even so, it seems a bit odd that Verizon isn't offering its lowest-priced plans to the HP laptop given all the noise it made about tiered pricing and its supposed flexibility.

If you're over laptops and Android Honeycomb tablets are more your thing, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gets a major upgrade with LTE. Previously, the Tab was available with Wi-Fi only. With LTE, it can be used when away from Wi-Fi hotspots. The LTE version will be available in two colors, metallic gray or glossy white.

The Tab 10.1 will ship with Honeycomb 3.1, and includes Samsung's Media Hub. The Media Hub is similar to Apple's iTunes in that it allows people to rent or purchase content such as TV shows, movies, and music. The Tab is shipping with a $25 credit, which can be used in the Hub.

Verizon Wireless will offer two 4G LTE Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 models, both priced with two-year customer agreements: $529.99 for the 16-GB model and $629.99 for the 32-GB model. Verizon will also sell the Wi-Fi-only model for $499. These prices are in line with those of competing tablets. As mentioned earlier, customers can choose a 2-GB plan for $30 per month, a 5-GB plan for $50 per month, or a 10-GB plan for $80 per month.

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