AT&T to start LTE rollout by mid-year, finish by end of 2013

AT&T president joins Motorola execs to introduce new Atrix dual processor phone

LAS VEGAS -- AT&T will launch LTE smartphones, networks and other devices in mid-2011, and expects to complete a nationwide LTE deployment by the end of 2013, AT&T Mobility President Ralph de la Vega announced Wednesday at the AT&T Developer Summit here.

AT&T expects to introduce 20 different 4G devices by the end of 2011, including LTE and HSPA+ phones, tablets, modems and mobile hotspots, de la Vega said, adding that HSPA+ speeds will be 6 Mbit/sec and the LTE technology will be "even faster," he said.

In addition, AT&T joined Motorola to announce the Motorola Atrix 4G, a dual-core smartphone that offers 2GHz processing speeds and docks with an 11.6 inch laptop to offer laptop-quality browsing capability. Several of the fastest phones on the market today only offer 1Ghz processor speeds.

Motorola Mobility CEO Sanjay Jha, who joined de la Vega in making the Atrix announcement, noted that the device can also be docked to a larger device like a TV or a full-sized keyboard.

"This truly extends the value of smartphones for most consumers and enterprise users," Jha said in brief remarks. He promised to reveal more details about the phone at a news conference later today at the Consumer Electronics Show, also being held here.

De la Vega said that customers of early previews of the new device "love the Atrix concept," a longtime joint AT&T-Motorola project.

De la Vega also said that AT&T going forward with plans to support smartphones running on operating systems from Apple, RIM BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7, along with HTML 5 support.

He didn't elaborate, however, on specific devices from each OS.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, send e-mail to mhamblen@computerworld.com or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed .

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