The nation's top wireless carrier, Verizon, succeeded in capturing a share of the limelight in Las Vegas this week at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show -- with AT&T and Sprint using the venue to unveil a swath of new 4G LTE devices. On Monday, for example, AT&T took the wraps off five super-fast Android smartphones and one new tablet, which are all coming down the pike in early 2012.
By contrast, Verizon's focus had been centered on serving the needs of small- and medium-size business owners and software developers. Among other things, the wireless carrier has "opened two Innovation Centers to collaborate with small entrepreneurial firms," said John Stratton, president of Verizon Enterprise Solutions, during a presentation Wednesday.
Verizon already has teamed up with software firm Trend Micro, which has developed a -security platform for Android devices featuring a mobile app scanner as well as a lost-device capability, and also blocks mobile-security threats whether the handset user is surfing the Web, calling or texting.
"This is an app that can be downloaded by individual customers through our app store Verizon Apps," said Verizon spokesperson Debra Lewis in a Thursday e-mail. "The store is available on about 20 Android devices," Lewis added.
Meanwhile, MobileIron is in Verizon's CES booth this week to show off a new platform that will enable global companies to secure and manage their mobile devices and apps running on Verizon's network. The goal is to help IT departments build and deliver mobile apps, support multiple operating systems, and secure on both corporate and employee-owned devices.
Verizon has also rolled out Jetpack -- a 4G LTE mobile hotspot from Novatel Wireless that enables fast Internet connectivity for as many as 10 Wi-Fi-enabled devices while supporting secure corporate virtual private networks -- including VPN pass-through and NAT firewall. With Jetpack, the goal is to make it possible for business teams to collaborate while working remotely -- either within the United States or in other countries overseas.
Additionally, Verizon previewed the carrier's first global-ready BlackBerry smartphone from Research In Motion. Called the BlackBerry Curve 9370, the new 3G quad-band handset -- which is set for a Jan. 19 launch -- integrates support for the GSM, GPRS and EDGE voice and data services available in more than 200 countries.
Also on hand in Las Vegas this week, Sprint unveiled the first three super-fast devices destined for deployment on the carrier's coming 4G LTE network beginning in the first half of 2012: the Samsung Galaxy Nexus and LG Viper smartphones as well as a tri-band mobile hotspot from Sierra Wireless.
"These products combine with our unlimited data pricing plans to give Sprint customers a powerful wireless experience," said Steve Elfman, Sprint's president of network, wholesale and product development division.
T-Mobile Doubles 4G Speeds
Though T-Mobile USA has no LTE deployment plans of its own, the carrier told CES attendees that it is continuing to expand its existing high-speed network. Among other things, the company has already doubled the speed of its high speed packet access plus (HSPA+) service in a dozen additional U.S. metropolitan markets.
Moreover, T-Mobile announced its coming launch of Samsung's Galaxy S Blaze, which features Qualcomm's 1.5GHz, dual-core Snapdragon S3 processor and is also compatible with the boosted speeds of the carrier's HSPA+ network. Additionally, the Lumia 710 -- Nokia's first smartphone to run with Microsoft's new Metro-style Windows Phone 7 mobile platform -- officially launched on Wednesday.
"We are here, in fighting shape, and we will compete aggressively to win and retain customers by delivering compelling 4G services -- all at a great value," said T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm.