Verizon To Preview Android Devices, Not iPhone - InformationWeek

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Government // Mobile & Wireless

Verizon To Preview Android Devices, Not iPhone

At CES next week, the carrier has scheduled a news conference to provide "sneak peek" of Android-based 4G LTE consumer devices, rather than the rumored announcement it will launch a version of the Apple iPhone.

Verizon Wireless on Tuesday announced its lineup of speakers for its LTE news conference at next week's CES show in Las Vegas and the news is likely to disappoint the hoards of journalists and stock analysts who have been predicting the firm will launch a version of Apple's iPhone.

Instead, Verizon said it will provide "a sneak peek of Android-based 4G LTE consumer devices" during the news conference, which will be Webcast live on Jan. 6.

The Android devices could represent a new breakthrough, offering consumers more than the dongles and USB devices currently available on Verizon's LTE nationwide network, which serves nearly 40 cities and some 60 airports. Verizon has already begun hyping new Android devices to come from Motorola and the handset maker has said it is working on additional Android handsets as well as on Android-based tablets.

So where's the iPhone and when is it coming to Verizon? The company still won't talk and Apple is stiller than the Sphinx, but the fact that Verizon is offering Apple's iPad hasn't gone unnoticed; the iPad familiarizes Verizon with Apple apps and delivery channels, helping it pave the way for an iPhone launch.

There are some problems that have to be surmounted before Verizon can offer an iPhone. First, its LTE network is not yet ready for handsets with voice calling capability. Those handsets won't likely be arriving for a few months at least. MetroPCS offers a Samsung handset for its LTE service, but the device features multimedia and entertainment features and has no voice calling capability either. Verizon's LTE so far is aimed at data consumption rather than multimedia consumption.

For Verizon and Apple to offer a 3G iPhone for Verizon's CDMA network would require some significant retooling on the part of both firms and there are no firm indications that the retooling is underway.

The Verizon speakers scheduled to appear at the Jan. 6 news conference are Dan Mead, president and chief executive officer of Verizon Wireless; Tony Melone, executive vice president and chief technology officer; and Marni Walden, vice president and chief marketing officer.


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