By: Martha DeGrasse
Verizon Wireless is set to add another LTE/Wi-Fi tablet to its portfolio, the newest Hewlett-Packard Chromebook. The tablets are often called LTE-only because they do not include 3G connectivity. Altair Semiconductor told Reuters it will supply the LTE modem for the new Chromebook.
Altair also makes the modem for Verizon Wireless’ Ellipsis 7, which the carrier sells under its own brand. Altair CEO Eran Eshed said that an LTE module based on his company’s chipset will cost a manufacturer about $40, roughly half the cost of the leading multimode solution.
The new HP Chromebook will be the successor to the Chromebook 11 (pictured), which is priced at $279. It will not be the first LTE Chromebook. Google’s Chromebook Pixel supports Wi-Fi and LTE, but is priced beyond the reach of most users at more than $1,400.
Verizon Wireless says its LTE network is now available to 95% of the U.S. population, or 303 million people. More than 500 markets are covered. The next step in the march towards LTE-only devices will be LTE-only smartphones, but these will not launch until Verizon Wireless turns on its voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) service. Verizon Wireless’ network does not support seamless handoff of voice calls from LTE to CDMA, so the carrier is not expected to turn on VoLTE until it can support almost all voice calls on LTE.