CTIA 2010: Enter the Handsets

LAS VEGAS -- International CTIA WIRELESS 2010 -- This year's event has seen the start of a smartphone stampede even before the show floor is open.

3G handsets based on Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android operating system are -- unsurprisingly -- grabbing some of the early headlines. There are signs, however, of a new focus on next-generation smartphone development for WiMax and LTE, an issue that is likely to come to the fore if, as expected, Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) unveils its first WiMax smartphone this week. (See CTIA Preview: WiMax Smartphone, LTE & iGloves!)

On the Android tip: AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has the first Dell Technologies (Nasdaq: DELL) Android phone in the US on show this week. (See MWC 2010: AT&T Goes Android.) Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is building on its push-to-talk heritage with the i1, the first Android device in the world to offer the walkie-talkie style technology. Salt SA , meanwhile, says it has a deal with Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications to launch its Xperia Android phone in early April.

That's likely just the tip of the iceberg for Android and other 3G smartphone announcements here at the show. There are signs of life beyond 3G though and not just the expected High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) Supersonic WiMax phone.

Chipmaker Beceem Communications Inc. and D2 Technologies Inc. say they are putting together a reference design for Android devices that "can utilize 4G and 3G technology." At the moment, the pair say this means support for 3G, WiFi, and WiMax but Beceem has LTE on its books too, so expect that technology to be added down the line.

Other next-gen silicon makers, such as Sequans Communications , are also talking up WiMax handset technology and dongle capabilities for Long-Term Evolution. Sequans is the chip behind Motorola's new dongle for its China Mobile Communications Corp. Expo network in Shanghai. (See Motorola's Shanghai Hope.)

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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