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Sprint: Can Three Hot New Devices Reinvigorate WiMAX?

Mar 7 2011, 10:17am CST | by , in Rumors | Technology News

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Sprint: Can Three Hot New Devices Reinvigorate WiMAX?
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And should WiMAX really survive?

Things haven't been looking so hot for WiMAX lately. The launch of Verizon's (much faster) LTE network has taken the wind out of its sails. And the news that Sprint may be considering a switch to LTE hasn't exactly buoyed confidence. But now we're hearing rumors that Sprint has a huge WiMAX push planned for the CTIA show. How huge?

Try two new high-end Android smartphones and an Android tablet. The Nexus S 4G, the Evo 3D and the Evo View slate are all expected to launch during the 2.5 hour event. Nothing conclusive has leaked about these devices, but there are a few safe assumptions we can make.

The Nexus S 4G will be...a Nexus S with WiMAX. Either packing TouchWiz or stock Gingerbread. Hopefully the latter. And the Evo 3D is likely to be a dual-core smartphone with a 4.3" display and, obviously, 3D support. Last, we have the Evo View tablet. Since the Evo is an HTC phone, and HTC's only announced tablet is the 7" Flyer, that seems to be the the most likely culprit for Sprint's WiMAX slate.

What seems odd here is the absence of a 4G Galaxy S smartphone. We still have yet to see all the carrier-specific versions of Samsung's new flagship phone.

A 4G blitz like this represents one of two things. Either Sprint is pushing back against Verizon's LTE roll-out with an equally impressive spate of next-gen gadgets...or they're testing the waters to see if WiMAX really has any future in the industry. Sprint is currently studying the rate its customers move from EV-DO to WiMAX, in order to evaluate the need for an LTE service.

So if this new 4G bonanza goes well, Sprint will be more likely to carry WiMAX into the future. If it proves a disappointment, we might as well consider that Clearwire's death sentence.

But the more important thing to consider here is whether or not WiMAX makes any sense on a global field. Back in 2007 Intel pushed hard for global WiMAX adoption. As early as 2009, they started to backpeddle on the 4G technology. As the rest of the world jumps on the LTE bandwagon, WiMAX seems more and more like a "landlocked" technology (like CDMA).

I'll leave you with the words of Siegmund Redt, General Manager at Altair Semiconductor, "There will always be islands of solutions. What we see today with LTE is the world converging on single standards. LTE is international as no other standard before."

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