CES: Verizon Shows Off 4G Devices With Preloaded Rock Star, Skype And More

Verizon, and its handset partners, have been spinning out information about devices for its LTE network for weeks now, but today, at a press conference at CES, the company formally presented the lineup of 10 devices: four handsets, two tablets, two notebooks and two MiFi/hotspots.

The show was headed up by Verizon Wireless CEO Dan Mead, CTO Tony Melone and CMO Marni Walden, but also featured brief appearances from the CEOs of each of the handset makers, and other partners working on Verizon’s LTE effort.

Handsets in the lineup:
— HTC ThunderBolt will be exclusive to Verizon Wireless;
— LG (SEO: 066570) Revolution;
— Droid Bionic 4G;
— Samsung 4G LTE Smartphone (yes, they’ve gone for a very straight name)

— Motorola (NYSE: MOT) Xoom;
— 4G LTE-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tab

There are also two MiFi/mobile hotspot devices and two notebooks.

Verizon’s LTE network — which has speeds of 5 to 12 megabits per second on the downlink and 2 to 5 Mbps on the uplink– has been live for 32 days but can only be accessed via laptops. Handsets and tablets, says Verizon, will all be available by the middle of this year.

Like AT&T the day before, Verizon is making a big play to emphasise the content part of the equation, as a way of giving context to all this extra bandwidth and fancy devices.

In all, Verizon has some 60 partners featured at its CES booth, showing off different apps and services. A couple made an appearance at the press conference:

Tony Bates, the CEO of Skype, made a brief appearance that reinforced Skype’s move into doing more in mobile video (they released an iPhone app that enables video last month; and today announced that it bought video streaming and sharing company Qik). Bates said that a new version of Skype, enabling video calls, will be integrated into this new line of 4G smartphones.

Similarly, Travis Boatman, vice president of worldwide studios for EA Mobile, announced a new edition of EA’s Rock Band that will enable multiplayer gaming over wireless networks. EA says that the game will be available on selected Verizon LTE devices, with no details of which devices and when.

Other services that will come pre-installed include the MOG music service — one of those apps that lets users listen to unlimited music for a fixed fee, here $10 — and the video streaming service Ustream.

Verizon is still holding on to its cards in all matters of pricing: no word on what kind of plans these new devices will come with, or how data will be priced on the new network. With “4G” services coming out from a number of providers, Verizon will need to get their pricing right to attract people to the service.

Oh, and there wasn’t a single word on the iPhone today, so it looks like people will have to keep speculating on when the device might start appearing with carriers beyond AT&T.