LAS VEGAS, January 10, 2011 - After last week's slew of press conferences and unveilings, the latest new products at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) left little doubt: 2011 will be "The Year of 4G."
In fact, CES 2011 was as much about the networks as it was about the devices themselves. As the Tech Industry's leaders rolled out a host of new offerings, nearly every big announcement boasted 4G-ready or 4G-upgradable devices.
The term "4G" refers to "Fourth Generation" wireless standards, which provide higher mobile broadband upload and download speeds than Third Generation (or "3G") and rival speeds currently associated with wired connections such as cable or DSL.
Both AT&T and Verizon competed for the attention of show-goers and the media with the strength of their networks and the products coming available for them. On Wednesday's Press Day, AT&T took the opportunity to announce it planned to move up its 4G network rollout by a year to the middle of 2011, and by December would offer 20 4G-capable devices.
The next morning, Verizon's CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, delivered the kickoff keynote address boasting a handful of new 4G devices in advance of the company's afternoon press conference, which, as widely anticipated by industry watchers, rolled out a larger selection of soon-to-be-released 4G devices. While it currently has a 35-city 4G LTE network in place, Verizon has yet to bring any 4G devices to market.
In his keynote, Seidenberg focused on the potential of an integrated Internet experience on a 4G network through partnerships with, among others, Time Warner, Motorola, and Google. He portended a seamless, simplified delivery of internet content, including on-demand television, mobile applications, and traditional web surfing to users on the device of their choosing over the company's new, high-speed network.
Hardware manufacturers also got in on the action, with Motorola and LG both announcing the upcoming release of Android-based 4G tablets to compete with Apple's highly successful iPad.
Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam commented on the possibilities of 4G networks during Thursday morning's keynote: "the full-blown mobile broadband experience we've been predicting for years is now coming true."