LAS VEGAS — It’s all about the network, according to Verizon Chief Executive Ivan Seidenberg.
During his opening-day keynote at CES this morning, Seidenberg talked about the rapid growth of mobile phones and broadband in the U.S. A decade ago, a third of consumers had cellphones, where now 90 percent own the devices.
Meanwhile, broadband has gone from a rarity to a service used by more than 85 million homes in the country. Seidenberg noted that Verizon’s broadband service is now available at up to 150 megabits per second and engineers have tested 1 gigabit residential service on the same infrastructure.
Wireless data is more than doubling every year, smartphones sales are growing at almost 90 percent a year, and mobile broadband is enabling a new computing platform for mobile applications. Altogether, the connectivity is creating the biggest opportunity ever for technology products “the world has ever known,” he said.
Verizon brought Motorola Mobility Chief Executive Sanjay Jha on stage to show two 4G devices, including the Droid Bionic smartphone and Xoom tablet, both of which run Google’s Android software and have dual-core processors. The Bionic launches in February, but won’t run on 4G until an update comes in the second quarter. The Xoom also launches in the second quarter.
The company also drew aahs with a demo of Google’s new “Honeycomb” version of Android for tablets, presented by Mike Cleron, Google’s principal engineer on the project.
Google’s big presence was almost enough to make people forget all the earlier speculation that Seidenberg would use the keynote to announce a Verizon iPhone. It turned out there was no mention of Apple at all.
Seidenberg did note the fast progress to the 4G LTE service that launched last month in 38 markets (including Seattle) and is expected to cover the country within 18 months. Verizon started the project in 2007, three years after launching its 4G network.
On Wednesday, AT&T announced that its 4G network will launch this summer, and Clearwire is testing LTE technology in parallel with its WiMax network.
There wasn’t much focus on individual devices until Motorola’s Jha came on stage. Seidenberg said additional devices coming later this year will be shown at a separate press event later today. Those devices include 4G products from HTC and Hewlett-Packard.
Here’s a video of the Honeycomb preview: