updated 12:15 pm EST, Fri March 6, 2009
Nokia Verizon 4G Phone Tip
A tip from Thursday suggests Verizon is enlisting Nokia's help to develop a touchscreen device that would help the carrier lure customers away from the iPhone next year. Citing only anonymous sources, The Street asserts that the two companies are working on a touchscreen device whose cornerstone would be 4G Internet access over Verizon's LTE network, which goes live in early 2010. The service currently reaches 60Mbps in testing and would theoretically let the phone offer streaming HD video and other features that aren't options on 3G.
Further details aren't mentioned, though both companies are suspected of negotiating an exclusive deal and would use the new device as a flagship to show that both are leading in cellphone technology. Verizon in particular would gain by having a "halo" device to show the advantages of its 4G network a year or two ahead of AT&T, which won't have 4G until 2011 and will have to settle for interim HSPA+ 3G service during 2010.
Such an effort would be unusual for Nokia. The company does offer its smartphones in the US but lately has been limited to selling full-price, unlocked versions independently of any carrier and only in a format that would support 3G over AT&T. The Finnish cellphone producer has often been hesitant to tie its high-end phones to US carriers as they often ask hardware companies both to customize the interface as well as to deliberately disable or remove useful software features like Internet phone calling.
The rumor doesn't have any direct corroborating support and should be treated with caution as the site doesn't have a definitive track record. However, Nokia has just this week pledged early 4G support with at least one device likely to show next year.