There were at least two major live demos of HSDPA at CTIA this year.
HSDPA is a new version of UMTS (AKA WCDMA) 3G technology, that speeds up the data rates significantly - as in up to 10x - compared to the initial versions of UMTS, which was already about twice as fast as technologies like EDGE. Since HSDPA is starting to be available from the equipment suppliers this year, and Cingular is also doing their big 3G deployment this year, they will be moving directly to HSDPA, basically skipping the non-HSDPA version of UMTS (not counting the small WCDMA networks acquired through the AT&T Wireless merger).
What's really exciting for us phone-heads is that a couple of actual, working HSDPA phones were shown off at CTIA. We'll show you the Samsung / Siemens demo later in the article, but the Samsung we saw is not a phone that will actually come to market, so it's not as interesting as...
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The LG U8400 - the first HSDPA phone to be demonstrated to the public on U.S. spectrum bands, (850 MHz and 1900 MHz,) and, we believe, the first Cingular-branded 3G phone to be shown publicly:
LG reps speaking on the record insisted the phone shown above was only an early prototype. But we've heard from other reliable sources that this phone could be launched as soon as six months from now.
As you can probably see, it's a slide-style model with a rotating camera on top. The screen is great, but the buttons are relatively small and didn't stick out much on the one we tried, so they were kind of hard to press. Hopefully that will be fixed by launch time.
Keeping with the slider theme, and on the subject of phones for GSM carriers, LG also announced the F7200, LG's first GSM phone with Push-To-Talk (PTT). It's slated be launched in the second quarter (April - June).
We're not supposed to tell you whose logo is under the black box in the photos above, but let's just say it's a really huge U.S. carrier. What really got our attention was when we were told by an LG executive that the F7200 would use Kodiak's RTX client for PTT.
That implies to us that the particular unspoken major carrier could be planning to deploy Kodiak's PTT technology instead of the PoC standard. (PoC is backed by practically every major manufacturer, including Sony Ericsson, Motorola, Nokia and Siemens, and the OMA standards group.) If this is indeed the case, it could be a really major blow for PoC as a standard, but of course a huge win for Kodiak.