Verizon, Nokia to Team on Touchscreen for LTE?

A touchscreen LTE device is in the offing from Nokia Corp. and Verizon Wireless, according to reports based on “people familiar with the companies.”

If true, it would give Nokia – top device-maker globally – a first-mover advantage in 4G handsets in the United States, which has stubbornly refused to buy its devices.

Nokia recently raised some eyebrows by cancelling production of its WiMAX-enabled Internet tablet, which it created for Sprint-Nextel Corp.. The move was seen as a blow to the WiMAX ecosystem, seemingly painting it as a niche play. By throwing its weight into LTE, Nokia could be seen to solidify that message.

Or perhaps not. In late January, Nokia reported that its fourth-quarter earnings down were down 69 percent, dropping its dominance of the global handset market to 37 percent. Verizon plans to be commercial with LTE next year, as do many other Tier 1 operators, which provides a viable manufacturing economics model and new market to the gadget-maker. The Verizon scenario also is a far cry from Sprint’s WiMAX journey, which went from shaky to shakier to spun off to Clearwire Corp..

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