Best Buy Spills The Beans On Nokia Internet Tablet With WiMax - InformationWeek

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2/22/2008
01:29 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Best Buy Spills The Beans On Nokia Internet Tablet With WiMax

Last year Nokia confirmed that it is working on a WiMax-equipped version of its N800-series Internet tablet. Until this week, there hadn't been further news of the device. Well, Best Buy pictured an unannounced Nokia N830 Internet tablet in its February Mobile Buyer's Guide, and possibly gave away the big WiMax secret.

Last year Nokia confirmed that it is working on a WiMax-equipped version of its N800-series Internet tablet. Until this week, there hadn't been further news of the device. Well, Best Buy pictured an unannounced Nokia N830 Internet tablet in its February Mobile Buyer's Guide, and possibly gave away the big WiMax secret.What's not a secret is that Sprint is expecting to roll out "regular" consumer electronics to access its forthcoming WiMax network first. Mobile phones aren't on the short list of devices that will be granted WiMax powers, at least for the next 12 months. Instead, devices such as the Nokia N830 Internet tablet, wireless data cards, and other gear will be outfitted with WiMax chips. Sprint hasn't been specific, but Nokia is one of a handful of suppliers who have committed to producing WiMax-equipped devices. The N830 looks to be it.

For the device to appear in an ad from Best Buy falls in line with what has been made public about Sprint's WiMax devices and their availability to consumers. But the timing is somewhat interesting.

Sprint just barely got its test markets off the ground with limited trials late last year. It hasn't even begun to fully trial the WiMax networks in test cities Chicago and Washington, D.C.-Baltimore. With the full roll-out coming later this year, it is odd that the device would appear in a February advertisement.

CTIA -- the largest wireless confab in the United States -- is just five weeks away. It could serve as the official launching point for Sprint's Xohm WiMax network. In fact, Sprint is hosting press and analysts at a special luncheon during the trade show to discuss the firm's future. It's highly possible that Sprint plans to unveil its exact WiMax plans then.

So perhaps Best Buy jumped the gun by a month or two. Or perhaps the flyer was produced a month or more ago, and Sprint had to delay an earlier launch. Considering the recent reports that Sprint, Clearwire, and Intel are working together on a WiMAx pact, it appears that WiMax is coming before too long.

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