Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Xohmwear Over the Rainbow...

Elsewhere in this blog we talked about most of the US carriers not really paying attention to user needs and desires - and that locking people into a specific plans for 2 years and locking them out of certain phones and applications forever would eventually backfire.

They laugh, "Haha!" (Sometimes to me, actually. I've gotten email through this blog from a few employees at some US carriers that are...entertaining.) "He who controls the frequency, controls the Key to the Garden!!!" they shout from their rooftops. Oh, how true it is...

...unless you leave the backdoor open, I suppose.

WiMax, the long-range, high-speed packet protocol loosely designed on the 802.xx family of protocols is starting to make its way out of the land of vapor and into the real world. You know something in tech is about ready to pop when more than one company starts to give it marketing names.

On the Sprint side, WiMax is Xohm - a $5B expansion of their network that other US carriers laughed at has a roll-out completion horizon. The first rollouts will be - gulp - this year in Washington DC and Chicago. In addition, Google as gotten all "I'm all about Xohm!" by partnering with Sprint to allow it to access its social networking repertoire and provide location based services via WiMax, as well as provide a platform for downloading music and video on the go.

Combined with the soon-to-not-be-vapor Google phone and some yummy VoIP apps, we have ourselves an interesting alternative to standard cell handsets. (Actually, some of those handsets are already here - check out the LG KC1 WiMax phone, which was released last year. All it needed was, oh, I dunno...a WiMax transmitter? Sometimes being too early to the party is as bad as being late to the party.)

Over on the PC and portable device side of the house, we have another marketing name: "Echo Peak." That's the name that Intel has given to its universal WiMax/WiFi module that it is embedding in its new line of chips. David Perlmutter, Intel's SVP of Mobility (excellent freakin' title, David. Seriously.) promises us shipping, available-on-store-shelves laptops with Echo Peak by...ahem...early 2008.

Oh look...up there in the wind. I believe that is called "change."

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