Earlier this month, Verizon officially launched its 4G network, which prompted rumors of 4G smartphones coming to the mobile service provider. Most of December passed without any clear answer from […]

Earlier this month, Verizon officially launched its 4G network, which prompted rumors of 4G smartphones coming to the mobile service provider. Most of December passed without any clear answer from the company, which naturally led to more rumors – especially regarding Apple’s iPhone and a long-awaited debut on Verizon.

However, a Motorola smartphone will be the first 4G smartphone available from Verizon, chief operating officer John Stratton told the Wall Street Journal. On Wednesday, the WSJ released a report detailing Verizon's plans. Stratton said there will likely be other devices – both smartphones and tablets – demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show. The annual gizmo gala runs from January 6 through January 9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As various sources reveal more information, Verizon customers and those interested in the smartphone market pepper the web with mentions of Verizon 4G throughout Wednesday, based on results of a Google Realtime search.

The WSJ report also indicated the Motorola device will run on Google’s Android mobile operating system, which received a similar boost on Thursday when Acer demonstrated its new tablets. The device, which will likely be available in April, will run on Android 3.0, or Honeycomb, as it was codenamed internally. A number of reports state the consumer-centric tablet will debut at the Consumer Electronics Show as well.

On both Tuesday and Wednesday, Google Realtime results showed the tablet was among the most popular technology topics on the web.

Despite Google’s success as a mobile OS, Microsoft’s latest foray in the smartphone world has proven slightly more successful than some believed. The software giant said on Tuesday that original equipment manufacturers reported sales near 1.5 million smartphones running Windows Phone 7. While this isn’t entirely representative of consumer interest, it’s clear smartphone vendors believe there is a market for the platform.

No matter which mobile OS a consumer chooses, a report from Adaptive Mobile, which surfaced on December 15, details the growing threat of mobile malware. While Apple’s iPhone and Nokia’s Symbian experienced decreases in attacks, overall mobile malware grew by 33 percent in 2010 based on yearly comparisons. Furthermore, Adaptive expects the numbers to increase throughout 2012.

In the past, phone use rarely impacted security too heavily. The rise of mobile devices has created a new channel for cyber criminals, and a report from the Center for Disease Control shows this threat is likely to become more widespread. On Tuesday, the CDC released a study stating more than 33 percent of American adults between the ages of 25 and 29 live in a household without a landline telephone. The growing reliance on mobile technology, namely smartphones and less technologically advanced feature phones, will likely have greater effects on the U.S. population in the future.

Potentially exacerbating the problem is the growing trend of people using personal mobile devices to manage email and other tasks for their professional lives. While security must remain a priority when engaging in such practices, more options for reliable tablets continue to hit the market. Hewlett-Packard will likely reveal a new tablet at the Consumer Electronics Shows next month. The device will run on a Palm operating system, which has become an afterthought in the market due to the success of Apple, Google and Research In Motion.

Mobile devices as whole have been a key factor in driving holiday shopping sales this year. Whether by allowing people to make purchases on the go or serving as gifts themselves, smartphones and tablets played a key role in a 17 percent year-over-year rise in sales on the final weekend before Christmas. ComScore released the report on Wednesday and found Americans spent more than $900 million on ecommerce purchases last weekend.

Looking ahead to the Consumer Electronics Show, which often sets the framework for the tech year ahead, technology vendors in all sectors have the opportunity to continue the recovery of their market from the depths of the global recession and credit crunch.

Joe Meloni is Brafton's former Executive News and Content Writer. He studied journalism at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and has written for a number of print and web-based publications.