Samsung Electronics has taken a stab at what the next generation of wireless broadband devices will look like, unveiling a converged computer and mobile phone that uses third-generation (3G) and mobile WiMax connections.
The SPH-P9000 can support voice calls based on code division multiple access evolution-data optimized (CDMA EV-DO) networks and data connections via WiMax. It sports a five-inch liquid crystal display (LCD) screen for viewing videos or documents and includes a 30GB hard drive.
The device runs Windows XP and weighs just over a pound, or 560 grams. Customers can use Microsoft applications, take photographs with a built-in 1.3-megapixel camera, play MP3 files and type on a full keyboard that folds out. The device also includes Bluetooth and a mini-USB connector and runs on a 1GHz processor from Transmeta.
The SPH-P9000 is expected to be available in Korea in the first half of next year. Pricing was not announced, nor were plans to sell the device in other markets.
CDMA EV-DO is the 3G cellular standard based on technology first developed by Qualcomm. It’s used in Korea, the United States and a few other countries.
The device will support WiBro, a version of WiMax. WiBro was developed by Korean companies around the same time that other companies around the world were developing the fixed version of WiMax. For a time, the two technologies threatened to compete, but WiBro was accepted as part of the WiMax standard, and backers of the two technologies are ensuring compatibility between them.
WiBro promises Internet connections of a few megabytes per second or more and will support access while users are moving very fast, like in a train.
Earlier this year, Korea Telecom and SK Telecom launched a WiBro network in Seoul. Customers typically use a PC card to connect to the network.
Other operators around the world, such as Clearwire, have launched WiMax networks, but their services don’t yet support mobility.
Some experts expect that mobile WiMax will become the next generation of mobile networks because it delivers broadband wireless access more efficiently than cellular networks. Others predict that WiMax may fill a void, delivering a ubiquitous DSL-like connection but without the wires.
Samsung has also demonstrated two other WiBro phones at various conferences this year and late last year.
A picture is available here.
-Nancy Gohring, IDG News Service (Dublin Bureau)
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