updated 10:50 am EDT, Tue March 23, 2010
Clearwire Dell Mini 10 comes with WiMAX
Clearwire and Sprint bolstered their WiMAX plans today by detailing expansion plans and new devices. The former led the news with details of a subsidized 4G notebook: the carrier plans to offer a subsidized version of the Dell Mini 10 with WiMAX that will provide the 3-6Mbps mobile broadband for less than ordering the device separately. The 10-inch netbook should cost $250 when signing up for Clearwire's 4G at the same time and will be available April 1st.
Alongside the new hardware, Clearwire also teased that it will ship a version of its Clear Spot mobile router later this year with built-in WiMAX. It also seized on the opportunity to push the existing $140 router, which depends on a USB modem to share 4G, as a complement to the iPad. The hotspot shares its access with as many as eight devices over Wi-Fi and, since its Internet access is genuinely unlimited, allows sustained video streaming and other services hurt by the 5GB caps on 3G.
Both Sprint and Clearwire added that they would expand coverage this year to more areas than already planned. They now hope to expand the reach of WiMAX to Miami and Los Angeles in the southern parts of the country as well as Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and St. Louis. Rollout schedules weren't given fine details, but more cities are also set to get the faster access in 2010.