This week, the mobile world rippled with aftershocks, following an earth-shattering leak from Dell, reported first on Engadget. The giant IT company let slip word on their newest addition to the smart phone series, the Lightning. This instantly celebrated device promises top-of-the-line specifications, including a Windows Phone 7 platform, 16GB of Flash ROM with 8GB microSD card, and a hefty 16Hz QSD8250 Snapdragon processor. But foremost among its tantalizing and innovative features, stands the Lightning’s LTE capability. In 2011, Dell plans to upgrade their worst-kept secret to 4G.
This development marks a victory for LTE in its ever-accelerating race against WiMAX for the coveted 4G title. It first appeared that WiMAX had the upper edge, when Dell introduced Wimax-wired laptops in May of 2009. Now, with Dell’s newest product and Samsung’s introduction of the world’s first ever LTE netbook in February, LTE shows signs of a renaissance.
Verizon may claim responsibility for LTE’s recent popularity. IT companies only release 4G products based on the announcements of wireless network providers. Dell’s line of WiMAX-capable laptops followed Sprint’s installation of a WiMAX network. Now, after Verizon announced its plan to establish an expansive LTE network across the country by the end of 2010, LTE products immediately fall on the market.
The question remains, who will win the battle between Sprint and Verizon, between WiMAX and LTE? Probably both. The nearly identical technologies may allow for an easy compromise where both of these networks can create a unified 4G system. This should interest both parties; when a 4G standard appears, compatible products will explode on the market.
Dell’s Lightning, aside from ushering in a rebirth of LTE, opens up a new chapter in the business world. What the iPhone innovated, the Lightning solidifies. The gap between IT and telecommunication has narrowed. As wireless networks advance, their capabilities benefit IT products more and more directly and the lines between these two categories blur. Dell proves that technology has created a symbiotic relationship between these two worlds. This is not last mobile phone to come from an IT company. We have a short while yet to wait before the first Verizon computer.