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Intel Abandons 3G for WiMax

Although GSM carriers are no doubt disappointed about the removal of HSDPA from the Centrino chipset, it's questionable as to just how big a blow this will really be. Major laptop vendors, such as Dell, HP, Lenovo and Toshiba, have partnered with 3G chip vendors, such as Sierra Wireless and Novatel, to offer integrated 3G radios in laptops using mini PCI slots. Adding these SKUs to laptops will increase the overall price, but the incremental cost isn't that high for enterprises that need 3G services. That said, I'm not sure Intel's addition of WiMax to the Centrino chipset will drive the WiMax network nearly to the same extent as it did for Wi-Fi. Although some users will certainly take advantage of the fact that they have a WiMax chip and sign up for the service, it's questionable as to how many people will become customers of Sprint or Clearwire simply because Intel has provided the radio with Centrino chips.
Sean Ginevan
NWC Contributing Editor

At its recent developer forum in Beijing, Intel disclosed plans to include WiMax support next year in its next-generation Montevina platform for notebook computers.

Intel said when the Montevina platform, which will run on a processor code-named "Penryn," ships late next year it will come with an integrated Wi-Fi/WiMax option. The vendor touted Mobile WiMax multimegabit speed, throughput and extended range as superior to alternative technologies, such as 3G cellular. These capabilities will let mobile users get the same benefits from the Web that their wired peers enjoy, including access to bandwidth-intensive content, such as high-definition videos and music, Intel said.

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