4G is here!
We thought that 2011 would be the year that 4G hit the mainstream and we didn’t even have to wait longer than the first week of the new year to see this come to fruition. AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon made huge 4G announcements at CES 2011 and we can look forward to a bunch of smartphones and tablets which can take advantage of faster data speeds.
AT&T dove head-first into the 4G pool by announcing it will have 20 devices by the end of the year, including smartphones and tablets. It will be labeling its HSPA+ network 4G and will also be offering LTE data starting in the second half of the year.
The devices that will be coming out look pretty strong: the Motorola Atrix 4G, the Samsung Infuse 4G and the HTC Inspire 4G are all top-of-the-line devices. We’re also expecting the Motorola Xoom tablet to land on AT&T’s network later this year, along with multiple other tablets, mobile hotspots and data dongles.
Verizon also made a big splash with the introduction of multiple 4G LTE smartphones. The dual-core Droid Bionic should help make that brand continue to be successful, the LG Revolution has high-end features, the Samsung Verizon 4G LTE smartphone and the HTC Thunderbolt brings a Sense-powered device to the 4G network.
As expected, T-Mobile outlined its plans to boost its 4G network with HSPA+42. We saw a few live demonstrations of this in a well-equipped room and T-Mobile was able to get more than 25 Mbps download speeds. While real-life speeds will vary, we’re looking at over 15 Mbps consistently in strong coverage areas – and that’s not bad.
T-Mobile will roll this out over 2011 and its roadmap suggests that the HSPA+ technology can be boosted up to 672 Mbps down the road. There are no HSPA+42 devices yet but look for these to come by the end of the year – existing HSPA+ devices like the G2 to also get a data bump, although it won’t be all the way up to 42 Mbps.
T-Mobile also introduced a few 4G tablets with the Dell Streak 7 and the G Slate Android Honeycomb tablet. The BlackBerry PlayBook didn’t want to get left in the 3G cold, as RIM and Sprint said this tablet will have 4G WiMax support.