Is Sprint’s WiMAX Phone the ‘New Trophy Handset?’

We haven’t seen the rumored WiMAX smartphone that will reportedly be announced by Sprint next week at CTIA, but someone who has told us recently that it’s a beauty, with a big screen tailored for on-the-go video. “It’s the new trophy phone,” our informant gushed. “Pretty darn amazing.”

It’s also probably not going to be available until sometime later this summer, so don’t go flushing those iPhones and Droids down the loo just yet. If you are looking for new wireless devices that might actually be closer to shipment at CTIA, you can join us in a hunt for end-user devices that do a better job of pulling in a WiMAX signal than your standard, naked USB dongle.

We’ve already shown you pictures
of Cradlepoint’s version of a portable WiMAX/Wi-Fi router that fits into a home dock with big rabbit-ear antennas to boost signal strength; expect to hear more about that home modem as well as some others from new suppliers that try to improve a problem all wireless networks face: Getting through walls. We’ll be on the lookout for one Clearwire-ready device we’ve heard is in development that is designed for businesses, with strong outdoor antennas to grab the WiMAX signal and a built-in Wi-Fi router to run the LAN inside. Any guesses to the supplier? We should know more next week.

In our recent network report on Clearwire, the company’s chief technical officer Dr. John Saw told us that Clearwire was seeing most of its network use coming from folks who were sitting inside a building, rather than on the go. And in an interview for the same report, Motorola’s WiMAX/LTE guru Bruce Brda predicted that 2010 would see multiple new entrants in the Clearwire CPE game, as the company’s open network started to attract more players than the initial contracted suppliers. Another good guess is more home modems that include integrated support for VoIP, as Clearwire and its partners look to increase the value proposition by adding services.

With a big Sprint event scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, and a joint Sprint/Clearwire keynote on the schedule for Wednesday morning, it could be a big week for WiMAX in Las Vegas, so much different than the scene just two short years ago. Stay tuned here for more news and analysis before, at and after the show.

Leave a Reply