There’s a lotta love between Intel and Nokia today, with promises for more-interesting mobile devices that combine the two companies’ singular strengths. But conspicuous by its absence was any mention of WiMax in the press release, perhaps because when it comes to Nokia WiMax is a bit of the red-headed stepchild.
As followers of the U.S. WiMax market know, Nokia was one of the most aggressive backers of WiMax early on — its WiMax tablet for the then-Xohm network was ready last April, way before Sprint and then Clearwire could get their act together to actually offer services the Nokia device could access. By the time Xohm finally launched last year in Baltimore, the Nokia folks had soured so much on WiMax that they couldn’t even summon a single knowledgeable exec to talk about the tablet at last fall’s CTIA show in San Francisco. Not too surprisingly, soon thereafter Nokia ditched its WiMax tablet, started singing the praises of LTE and started calling WiMax nasty names, a messy breakup if there ever was one.
But is there still hope that Nokia will come back to the WiMax pack? Even after all the ugliness Nokia is still listed as a valued partner on Clearwire’s website, which is either some oops-forgot-to-update-the-website or a contractual thing that leaves the door open for Nokia to come back. If the new Intel partnership pushes Nokia back into the WiMax device business that’s good news for Clearwire and its customers, who don’t have too many devices to pick from right now. It’s worth watching, but for now all remains quiet on the Nokia WiMax front.