LG announced a new cell phone chip that it is working on in its labs. It uses long term evolution (LTE), which is the next-generation wireless network technology chosen by U.S. carriers AT&T, Verizon Wireless, and others. Why is this special? Oh, just something about 60 megabit-per-second downloads over the air.The LTE spec, which is still undergoing revisions by the 3GPP, calls for 100-Mbps download capabilities. LTE is being called 4G by some, though the definition of what 4G really is hasn't been finalized. WiMax also is being called a 4G technology and is a competitor to LTE. All that aside, this new chip from LG reached 60-Mbps downloads and 20-Mbps uploads in LG's labs. Uh, that's fast.
Today's 3G networks are operating at real-world speeds well under the 10 Mbps barrier, and most are working at far less than that. The Apple iPhone, for example, can't exceed 1.4 Mbps on AT&T's network (though the device is capable of a theoretical 3.6 Mbps). The Novatel wireless card I use is capable of reaching super-fast speeds via Verizon's EV-DO Rev. A network, but on average, I see 1.66 Mbps for downloads and 186 kilobits per second uploads. You can imagine, then, the order of magnitude that LTE represents in comparison.
With chips (and networks) this fast, mobile devices will be much more capable at receiving and pushing content. We can expect to see them become a reality in the 2010 to 2012 time frame here in the United States.