updated 11:00 am EDT, Mon October 3, 2011
Sharp and LightSquared make LTE hardware deal
LightSquared landed a key deal Monday for Sharp to supply devices. Carriers using LightSquared's LTE-based 4G network will have optimized smartphones and tablets. The newcomer didn't mention which devices, but Android hardware such as the seven-inch Galapagos tablet and high-end smartphones like the Aquos 104SH are candidates.
The first devices might be shown as soon as the CTIA fall show, which formally starts October 11.
For Sharp, the LightSquared deal could lead to its first real high-end smartphones in the US after largely being limited to lower-end phones like the FX Plus and its pseudo-smartphones in the Sidekick. Sharp also has no presence at all in tablets in the US and should get its first real stake through the 4G network.
Although it's providing LTE and should be the biggest supplier outside of AT&T and Verizon, LightSquared itself won't be a carrier. It's instead selling access to startup carriers like AirTouch that will handle the day-to-day service. Although Sprint may not need the help, it's rumored that its switch to LTE may come by using LightSquared's recent deal to save most of the cost.