Where are the WiMAX MIDs?

Did you notice the absence of any major WiMAX device announcements at CES? With all the talk by Sprint and Clearwire about mobile WiMAX at the show, we were expecting a raft of WiMAX capable Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) to be announced at CES. We were disappointed.

After conversing with attendees and scouring the web, we only saw one WiMAX MID announced at CES- a blog post about Yukyung’s Viliv "X70 AtoM Communications MID."

The company is based in Korea so we don’t know if the MID is only for the Korean WiBro market or will be sold worldwide. According to a Yukyung rep, the Viliv devices should be available in Spring 2009, priced between $500 and $700. Like all WiMAX devices, they will first have to be certified on each network they connect to.

For more info please visit:


Please see my summary of our local (SC Valley) Jan 08 IEEE ComSoc meeting presentation: Internet in Your Pocket, by Rama Shukla of Intel


Hence, my keen interest in why there have not been more MIDs announced – one year later! Without a large choice of MIDs, netbooks and notebooks with embedded WiMAX, I don’t see how there can be a market for mobile WiMAX.

In sharp contrast, there are MIDs for 3G+ networks that may be coming to market this year. At CES, Qualcomm’s demonstrated the Android software platform running on its Snapdragon chipset, which is targeted at non WiMAX MIDs and other devices that go beyond the conventional handset. To the best of our knowledge, none of the Android based MIDs or phones in the works will support mobile WiMAX. They are all 3G/ 3.5G based. Qualcomm said the work is geared to larger MIDs and web tablets, having already been an early adopter of Android on its mainstream smartphone chipsets – the first Android phone, the T-Mobile/HTC G1, runs on the Qualcomm MSM2701A silicon.


Opinion: Snapdragon could be stiff competition for Intel’s AToM processor, which is also targeted at MIDs (with built-in WiMAX adapter). The MID introduced in 2009 may be mostly 3G/ 3.5G since those networks are much more pervasive than mobile WiMAX. Alternatively, the entire MID market may never come to pass- with equivalent functionality built into smart phones and netbooks. We are looking forward to seeing WiMAX enabled netbooks by the end of 1Q09.

0 thoughts on “Where are the WiMAX MIDs?

  1. Google has invested 500 million dollars in Clearwire to promote Android (generate more “google trafic”, in other words, to generate more ads revenue)
    I m pretty sure that the next android phones will support the WIMAX.

  2. Do you know of any company that has announced or plans to announce an Android based WiMAX device (MID, phone, other)?

    I believe Google’s investment in Clearwire was to enable MOBILE WiMAX rollouts that would get more subscribers onto the Internet. That is why they built and still maintain the mesh WiFi municipal network in Mt View, CA.

    Also be aware that strategic investments of this kind often don’t work out.
    -Intel invested in lots of optical fiber companies, telephony and DSL companies in the late 1990s-2001 and took a huge writeoff when they closed all of them (after purchase).
    -Microsoft invested in Comcast for strategic purposes but now has sold off all of that.

  3. New Business Week article on Intel’s MID initiatives:


    Caveat Emptor:
    “Yet Intel’s history in the mobile computing market has been checkered. The company sold its XScale mobile chip business to Marvell Technology (MRVL) in 2006, and some analysts are skeptical its latest run at handhelds will go better. “What Intel is trying to do with this mobile Internet device category is essentially tell people, ‘The smartphone is too limited for a lot of applications…so you need this thing in between,'” says analyst Haff. “I’ve certainly yet to be convinced there’s a market for something in between a smartphone and a netbook.”

    Do you think Intel’s MID intiatives will be too little too late? Will it give a push to Mobile WiMAX vs 3G+?

  4. We hear that several MIDs will be introduced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain later this month. We wonder if they will be based on 3G+ or Mobile WiMAX broadband access?

  5. eWeek reports:
    In the next 18 months, LG Electronics will offer the first mobile Internet device and smart phone that use Intel’s Atom processor technology. This yet-to-be named smart phone and MID device is based on Intel’s “Moorestown” that includes a 45-nm Intel Atom processor. The handset device also uses Linux-based Moblin software as well as Ericsson’s 3G wireless technology. LG and Intel plan to announce their partnership at the Mobile World Congress show this week.


    LG Electronics is planning to bring Intel’s Atom processor and platform to the smart phone market for the first time in 2010 with a mobile Internet device (MID) based on the upcoming Intel “Moorestown” platform.

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