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Today's road warriors look for Wi-Fi hotspots to insure their notebooks and other mobile devices can gain Internet access, but Nokia and others are starting to place bets on the emerging WiMAX connectivity standard with new devices.
At this week's CTIA Wireless show in Las Vegas, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) previewed the latest version of its Nseries, the N810 Internet Tablet WiMAX Edition. Nokia said the first N810s would be available in the U.S. this summer, with initial distribution focused on regions where WiMAX (define), the wide-area wireless broadband service, is available.
WiMAX has a much broader range than the more established and widely-used Wi-Fi, which is generally limited to a few hundred feet. WiMAX networks have a number of interconnected base stations, each with a radius of up to two to three miles, that allow for hand-offs from one base station to another. These virtual handoffs are designed to keep users connected as they move from one area to another in, for example, a cab or bus.
The unit also includes 2GB of memory expandable to 10GB. When not in range of WiMAX, the N810 also connects to Wi-Fi networks.
Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) has touted its iPhone as the first mobile device to offer a Web surfing experience comparable to the desktop or notebook.
In a similar vein, Nokia sees the portability of its N800 series and WiMAX accessibility as a major advance toward a more widely available mobile Internet.
Ari Virtanen, vice president of convergence products for Nokia, said "the 810 WiMAX Edition is a compelling example of how next generation broadband wireless technology will not only change the way people think about the Internet, it will change the very nature of the Internet itself."