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.