Mobile at CES 2011

CES 2011 promises to be the year of the mobile tablet, with a nod to 4G networks. In addition to numerous companies unveiling anticipated products, we can also expect surprise announcements.

Verizon Wireless plans to show off its Android-based LTE devices during a press conference Jan. 6. The Tier 1 carrier recently launched its 4G LTE network to 38 metropolitan areas, offering service via USB dongles, and CES 2011 will mark the debut of its smart phones. At that same press conference, Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg will speak, opening the possibility that more will be revealed than a few mobile devices.

Motorola has also been making noise about introducing an Android-based tablet at CES 2011; you may have seen the ad in which the company pokes fun at the Apple iPad and Samsung GalaxyTab. Because both tablets dominate the market (Apple has sold 7 million iPads and Samsung has sold 1 million GalaxyTabs), Motorola has a lot to live up to. Industry watchers honed in on a honeybee landing on the Motorola logo at the end of the ad to draw the conclusion that the tablet will run Android Version 3.0, which Google has dubbed Honeycomb. The device will also feature the NVIDIA dual-core Tegra 2 processor and will possibly have some connection with Verizon Wireless.

Tablets have been big for Apple and Samsung, so others are certain to follow with unveilings at CES 2011. Microsoft is coming up to bat with several new slate/tablet devices produced by manufacturing partners such as Samsung. A rumored Samsung tablet runs Windows 7 OS in landscape mode and offers a more layered interface in portrait mode. Will Microsoft show a prototype of a mobile device running Windows 8? What about other partnerships with manufacturers or app developers?

Among the many other manufacturers who have dropped hints about tablets are Research in Motion (PlayBook), Hewlett-Packard (webOS), NEC (some kind of Android-based tablet) and LG.

But it won’t all be about devices at CES. Motorola Mobility plans to show off its product, the first launched as a result of its spin-off from the mother ship, which will allow consumers to stream video to mobile devices in their homes. Because Motorola Mobility now handles the company’s set-top box and mobile phone businesses, this product is seen as a stepping stone to the ultimate destination: content anywhere, on any device. That’s a direction that the entire industry is taking, and Motorola Mobility has set a timeline of five years. After the home streaming product is launched, Motorola Mobility intends to integrate it into set-top boxes.

The Open Mobile Video Coalition will also have a booth at the event, so expect to see smart phones and other products enabling consumers to receive mobile DTV broadcast signals anywhere.