Big Red officially kicked off CES with its keynote address earlier this morning, and now, Big Red it taking the stage for a solo press conference to pimp its new network, hardware, and solutions. You know your friends at BGR are in the house and ready to relay all the pertinent information to you by way of the live blog. Grab some popcorn, an orange soda, and hit the jump. Kickoff is just minutes away!
3:36 PM: We’re here!
3:38 PM: Lots of creepy faces and the color red. Feels like Amsterdam’s Red-light District in here.
3:45 PM: 15 minutes until show time. Commence playing Angry Birds in 3…2…1…
3:55 PM: 5 minutes… if another one of those green pigs wearing one of those stupid helmets winks at me one more time I just might lose it right here and now.
4:04 PM: People are still taking their seats. Verizon might be waiting until the place fills up a bit more…
4:09 PM: “Ladies and gentlemen, the event is about to begin.”
4:11 PM: “Verizon 4G will transform the world we live in.”
4:11 PM: “Mobile is in real time. Think it. Do it.”
4:11 PM: “Growth far beyond just phones.”
4:12 PM: Tony Mallone and Marni Walden entering stage left.
4:13 PM: It’s been just 32 days since the launch of LTE for Verizon. Today we launch 4G LTE for consumers.
4:13 PM: Partners on the screen include Moto, LG, Skype, and many more.
4:13 PM: Today they’ll be talking about network, applications, software, and mostly devices. DEVICES!
4:13 PM: Verizon will be opening an application center in San Francisco to support device app development (queue video from Verizon’s development partners).
4:16 PM: Peter Chou and others are on this video giving Verizon and LTE kuods. We’re not sure if this means they are not here.
4:18 PM: Video is Talking up Verizon’s 700MHz network, which is ubiquitous and allows for LTE to cover many more Americans. Rural initiative will allow Verizon to partner with smaller rural carriers to bring high speed data to smaller areas.
4:19 PM: Bluegrass Cellular was the first of many Rural Initiative partners. Tony Mallone is now speaking.
4:19 PM: “We believe it’s the right thing to do for our country.”
4:19 PM: “We are going to continue to make sure we deliver and provide the best network anywhere in the world.”
4:19 PM: “Our commitment to excellence is going to continue with our focus and our employees committed to delivering the best network.”
4:20 PM: Tony is going to make some “deeper LTE comments.”
4:21 PM: “We expected early speed bumps, but actual performance is exceeding their own expectations, and customer feedback is excellent.”
4:23 PM: We said 25-30 markets in 2010, but they hit 38 markets. We also hit download speed and latency benchmarks for 2010.
4:24 PM: Seeing LTE testimonials from users.
4:25 PM: Verizon says they will do the same thing with LTE that they did with 2G and 3G. In 36 months, the nation will be covered in LTE. In 18 months, double footprint from today. In 2011 alone, they will add over 140 LTE markets to the current 38, making 175+ markets of LTE.
4:26 PM: “Now we want to share the stars of the show.” DEVICES!
4:27 PM: We just had the wildest rolling-display intros ever. Smoke machines and flying tables!!
4:27 PM: Verizon is introing the first 10 LTE devices: 4 Smartphones, 2 tablets, 2 mobile hotspots, and 2 notebooks. All will be available by midyear.
4:28 PM: “It’s not just about doing things faster, it’s about doing things you couldn’t do before.”
4:28 PM: Key partners here to demonstrate the devices and apps include, LG, coming to the stage now. LG CEO Jong Seok Park is taking the stage
4:31 PM: “The future is here, and LG is very peoud to be part of this industry revolution.”
4:31 PM: Now Skype is on stage touting how well it works on Verizon’s LTE network: “low latency, and quality is all beneficial to Skype mobile users.”
4:32 PM: Video and voice calls will continue to improve over Verizon’s LTE network. Cross platform calling, from phones, to connected TVs, to tablets, and more.
4:32 PM: The new version of Skype mobile will be deeply integrated into all of the new Verizon handsets.
4:32 PM: Status and contacts will be available directly from the on-board address books.
4:32 PM: Rapid and smooth one-touch video chatting.
4:33 PM: The application will always be on.
4:33 PM: Skypes time is up. Peter Chou of HTC is up next. (start the Thunderbolt chant!)
4:34 PM: Peter Chou is talking in front of a shot of the Thunderbolt.
4:35 PM: “Now we are teaming up to launch Verizon’s first 4G LTE smartphone, the HTC Thunderbolt”
4:35 PM: “I’ve been testing and using Thunderbolt as my personal device, and let me tell you. It’s blazing fast!”
4:36 PM: Skype video chat is integrated into the HTC Sense interface. Video streaming over 4G is incredible. 4.3″ SLCD screen.
4:36 PM: Includes mobile hotspot to share 4G connection.
4:37 PM: Chou: “After working on smartphones for more than a decade, I’m super excited to see this mobile broadband experience from Verizon!”
4:38 PM: HTC’s time is up. Travis Boatman from EA is now taking the stage.
4:39 PM: We’re seeing a demo of a networked version of Rock Band.
4:40 PM: The concept is cool. The demo is uninspiring.
4:40 PM: Okay, EA has been ushered off the stage.
4:41 PM: Here comes JK Shin from Samsung Mobile.
4:42 PM: Shin: “I’m very proud to join in this historic moment. I am very excited that verizon has selected samsung to launch a wide range of products together.”
4:42 PM: “Today we’re getting a smartphone, a 4G LTE Galaxy Tab, and a 4G LTE mobile hotspot.”
4:43 PM: The Samsung 4G LTE smartphone is designed with a 4.3-inch Super AMOLED Plus screen.
4:43 PM: Rear facing 8MP cam, HD video, 1.3 mp front facing cam. Video conferencing is really the star here.
4:43 PM: The 4G Galaxy tab, which Shin just pulled out of his pocket, provides the true mobile tablet experience.
4:44 PM: 1.2 Ghz processor from Samsung, provides fully immersive netowkred ideo experience.
4:44 PM: Shin just went into his other pocket to pull out a mobile hotspot.
4:44 PM: It’s small enough for pocket or purse, and allows for up to 5 LTE connections at once.
4:45 PM: Shin: LTE provides “Speed, connectivity, and rich multimedia content!”
4:45 PM: Okay, Samsung is done. Marni is back on stage.
4:45 PM: Talking about HP Pavilion laptop with LTE embedded and a Novatel MiFi with 4G.
4:46 PM: Should have 10 LTE device in the first half of the year.
4:48 PM: Okay, time for Q&A. The press releases are starting to fly and we’re writing them up as we speak. Keep it locked on our home page. ETA 5 minutes.
Question about network loads slowing down user speeds.
Verizon seems confident that the network will be able to handle the increased load.
Question about battery life optimization for 4G stuff, and also whether global roaming will be enabled.
Once again, confident that battery life will not be a problem. Everything is optimized for long battery life and speed. As for roaming the devices will be able to take advantage of overseas networks.
4:51 PM: Verizon says they aren’t announcing any pricing today — for devices or for data rate plans. “The only thing is that today in the market place, there are two price plans for 5GB and 10GB, but they won’t comment on specifics for LTE.”
Okay, that’s it for us. You can check out Verizon’s official press release covering all that was mentioned today right here! Thanks for tuning in!