- slide 1 of 5
4G technology is the successive generation for telecommunications after 3G. It refers to the way that a phone or device will connect to the remote satellites. It is important to note that 4G technology is still in its infancy, and so there are no strict definitions of what it yet constitutes. At the moment the existing mobile technologies that have been given the 4G tag increase the data transfer speeds over existing 3G networks. The future of 4G technology aims to develop IP-based connections to the Internet, alongside connection speeds possibly reaching 1 Gbit/s.
There are currently three systems which use the 4G name: WiMax, HSPA+ and LTE. WiMax is developed by Clearwire, a company mostly owned by Sprint Nextel. HSPA+ is used by T-Mobile and LTE is utilized by Verizon.
- slide 2 of 5
As 4G technology is not currently uniform it means that the availability is low. Each type of 4G is currently linked with different developers, in a similar way that Blu-Ray and HD DVD technologies were. LTE is available to Metro PCS and Verizon customers in certain areas, with AT&T also building an LTE service. WiMax is only in use with Nextel networks in the US with no plans to be used by other networks and HSPA+ is used only by T-Mobile.
All current 4G technologies are limited in their deployment; they are only available in a select number of large metropolitan cities, and support elsewhere in the world is sparse. Of the existing technologies HSPA+ has the greatest global coverage as well as the fastest Internet transfer speeds of any of the 4G branded networks.
- slide 3 of 5
While some mobile phones have already launched with 4G capabilities, Research in Motion have yet to release one. During 2010 rumours started that Research in Motion were to release a 4G BlackBerry during early-to-mid 2011. This 4G BlackBerry was light on detail, but many online sites started guessing feature lists. In January 2011 new rumours were flying around that the device was to be delayed.
It is expected that the reason for Research in Motion's lack of 4G BlackBerry is the high cost of 4G technology chips, the drain on battery life, and also the lack of network availability.
Check out the list of BlackBerry smartphones due to release in 2011 to see what is coming out.
- slide 4 of 5
Whilst Research in Motion have not announced a 4G BlackBerry, they have announced a BlackBerry product with 4G capabilities. The BlackBerry PlayBook due for release later in the year will be released in four models. The first of these models will be a Wi-Fi only device, but the remaining three devices will be for WiMax, HSPA+ and LTE.
These devices have been officially announced recently and show RIM's dedication to the 4G market. As for a BlackBerry 4G smartphone, we'll have to wait and see.
- slide 5 of 5
- BlackBerry - Press Release, us.blackberry.com/newsroom/news/press/release.jsp?id=4858
- Rumor - 4G BlackBerry Still too early to ship, www.electronista.com/articles/11/01/03/blackberry.with.lte.rumored.still.in.early.state/
- Packet data everywhere, packetdata.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/4g-data-will-blow-your4g-explained/
- Honou "BlackBerry Photo", www.flickr.com/photos/honou/3792140072/sizes/z/in/photostream/