Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a surprise appearance at AT&T's Developer Summit at the Consumer Electronics Show to say that the operator would be the first to offer LTE Windows Phones, including the HTC Titan II and a phone from Nokia.
"We're thrilled to announce the first LTE Windows Phones in the U.S. on AT&T's network," Ballmer said. The Titan II will have a 16-megapixel camera, offering better resolution than even many stand-alone cameras.
Many people had expected that Nokia, which is holding a press conference later in the day, would deliver the first Windows Phone LTE device. Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO who also made an appearance at the AT&T event, said he'd share more information about its first LTE Windows Phone at the press event. He also said the company will talk more about its reentry strategy in the U.S., where the world's largest phone maker has scant market share.
Ballmer promoted the differences between Windows Phone, which is widely praised by reviewers yet lags seriously behind competitors in sales, and other phone platforms. Specifically, he noted that Windows Phone lets developers incorporate social and other features into apps so that users don't have to open multiple apps constantly.
He also said that there are 300 apps being published daily in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
AT&T also announced six new Android devices that will run on its LTE network, including the Samsung Galaxy Note and a waterproof tablet from Pantech.
The Galaxy Note is midway between a tablet and a phone with a 5.3-inch screen. AT&T is the first to sell the device, which comes in blue and white, in the U.S. In addition to its size, the Note is unique in that it comes with a pen for controlling the device.
"This pen is not a stylus," said Kevin Packingham, a Samsung product manager. The pen allows for drawing very fine lines on the screen and enables more exact controls, he said.
AT&T will also offer the Galaxy S II Skyrocket HD, another Android phone with a 1.5Ghz dual-core processor and a removable battery.
The Samsung Exhilerate, which is made partly with recyclable materials, will also become available from AT&T.
The operator also unveiled devices from Pantech, including the Element, a waterproof tablet. AT&T is offering a deal where people can buy the tablet and the Pantech Burst phone for US$250. Otherwise, the Burst will cost under $50, AT&T said.