Consumer Electronics Show: T-Mobile bets on tablets with Dell’s Streak 7 and LG’s G-Slate

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T-Mobile USA Inc. will be adding tablets from LG and Dell to its lineup of mobile broadband devices, the company announced at the Consumer Electronics Show on Thursday.

T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm brought LG CEO J.S. Park on stage to show off a product called the G-Slate, powered by Google’s new Honeycomb version of Android.


Then Dell Vice President John Thode came on to hold up (but not demonstrate) the yet-unreleased 7-inch Dell Streak 7 tablet.

Both tablets will run on T-Mobile’s cellular network. The executives did not provide pricing information or specific release dates for the tablets.

Instead, T-Mobile focused largely on claims about its network, which it now says is both the largest and fastest 4G network in the U.S. (Wireless carriers frequently highlight that they are the fastest or largest network, but the claims are often based on different critera. In fact, there is still some debate about what 4G actually means, if anything).

The company says it has beguin deploying a 4G network -- based on a technoogy called HSPA+ -- capable of transmitting data at 42 megabits per second. That would be almost 100 times faster than many current 3G devices today. But the 42 Mbps number, as executives acknowledged, is a ‘theoretical peak’ -- meaning it is the maximum speed the technology could achieve under ideal conditions. Whether users will ever see that peak is a different matter that is not as frequently discussed.

In a demonstration of the new technology, two T-Mobile engineers showed songs downloading quickly -- about five or 10 seconds for an entire MP3 file. But when they ran a software program designed to show how fast the demonstration network was actually going, it maxed out at 30 Mpbs -- a sign that theoretical peak speeds and the speeds users will actually see may differ substantially.

-- David Sarno


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T-Mobile CEO Philipp Humm show off the just-announced G-Slate tablet. Credit: David Sarno / Los Angeles Times