Is Cloaked HTC 4G Phone Headed for Verizon Wireless?

HTC is showing off a 4G phone-sort of-on its Website, with the words, "The first to 4G, again," and the promise of more information Jan. 6. Is it headed for Verizon?

It looks like HTC has a new 4G phone up its sleeve, or maybe under it. New on the HTC Website is the squarish silhouette of a smartphone, cloaked in a black drape alongside the words: "The first to 4G, again."

A button, directing fans to a page where they can be alerted to details as they emerge, adds, "Find out January 6."

The Taiwan-based phone maker outfitted Sprint with the country's first 4G-enabled phone, in the HTC Evo 4G, and supplied T-Mobile with its first 4G phone as well, in the newly launched myTouch 4G. Is this one of the 4G phones that Verizon Wireless plans to introduce at January's Consumer Electronics Show?

Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg is scheduled to deliver CES opening keynote Jan. 6, and during October's CTIA 2010 event, Verizon President and COO Lowell McAdam reportedly confirmed that at CES, the carrier will unveil six smartphones designed to take advantage of its new 4G LTE (long-term evolution) network. Verizon powered up the network Dec. 5 offering coverage to 38 metropolitan areas and 60 airports, along with two USB 4G modems, the Pantech UML290 and the LG Electronics VL600.

A smartphone (or several) was sure to follow, and on Dec. 20 Verizon hinted at as much, posting to Twitter: Jan 6 at #CES: #Android and #LTE - could it be like peanut butter and chocolate? YUM!

The cloaked HTC phone is likely to be joined on stage by an Android-running Motorola device. Verizon COO John Stratton said Motorola will be right there when it comes time to unveil its new 4G smartphones, the Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 22.

The Motorola phone is rumored to be called the Tegra 2 code name Etna and also headed for AT&T, where it has instead been dubbed the Olympus.

Android and Me reports that test units of the Tegra 2 are running Android 2.2 with MotoBlur, though Motorola is expected to be working on 2.3, or Gingerbread.

On Dec. 22, Motorola announced its plans to purchase startup Zecter, which makes syncing and cloud-based solutions that Motorola says will further enhance users experiences with its MotoBlur user interface. The MotoBlur brand, however, is a thing Motorola has said it will include in products but not go out of its way to advertise. "We have decided to focus on the value proposition of products and not MotoBlur as a brand name in its own right," Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha said in July.

The global smartphone market grew by 50 percent year-over-year, according to an Oct. 26 report from ABI Research. Driving the market were strong sales from Apple, HTC and Research In Motion. Between the second and third quarters, reported ABI, HTC saw shipments grow from 3.3 million units to 5.3 million units.