Live from XOHM WiMax Launch: Notebooks Coming From Acer, Asus, Lenovo, Panasonic, and Toshiba

We’re here at the XOHM launch event in Baltimore, and I’m blogging using a Samsung XOHM connection card. (So far so good.) Biggest news here is that notebook vendors are jumping on board. Lenovo has an IdeaPad Y530 here with Mobile WiMax built in. Toshiba has a Satellite U405 here. And Asus is showing a M50 series. All with embedded Mobile WiMAx.Has been called the father of WiMax. And claiming WiMax is indeed 4G. Following are the highlights from the press conference. 10:03: XOHM’s Barry West insists that Mobile WiMax is 4G. Now introducting “grandfather” of WiMax Intel’s Sean Maloney. 10:06: Sean Maloney saying that U.S. is finally leading in terms of mobile broadband. 10:08: Barry West back on. Trying to answer question why WiMax. One of advantages is that XOHM has a lot of specrtum. But also need an ecosystem. More than 20 chipset manufacturers. Fulfilling promise of open Internet. Moving away from Wi-Fi model. Over time will have same coverage as everybody else (referring to 3G). Aiming for hot spot size of a city. 10:13: Why Baltimore? Wanted somewhere that was challenging and that was representative of American cities, with brick buildings. Today is not about the network but the devices. Connectivity is going to be amazing. 10:15: Will have over a dozen notebooks on the market by December. Partners include Acer, Toshiba, Asus, and Lenovo. 10:20: Sprint’s Dan Hesse is on stage. Later this year Sprint will be launching multi-mode devices. So you’ll have 3G and 4G on the same device for ubiquitous data coverage. 10:26: Barry West thanking partners like ZTE, Motorola, Siemens, etc. Today is about embedded laptops. Asus. Lenovo. Toshiba. Panasonic. 10:33: Q&A Time. Question about whether VoIP over WiMax will hurt wireless carrier. Barry says voice is just another app. West answers another question about whether WiMax will fail and all the recent criticism of the technology. There’s enough licensed spectrum to cover half the world’s population. 10:35: Sean Maloney saying there were doubters about Wi-Fi too but WiMax is stunning. Great question on the effect on the economy both in terms of the pace of the rollout but also the willingness of consumers to spend money on another monthly fee. Dan Hesse saying is that people would rather give up their TV than cell phone and that this is analagous to that. Wireless is now the must have and the wireline is the nice to have so that puts Sprint and XOHM in a favorable position. 10:38: Question about limits about data usage. Barry West is saying that they have to manage the network but if there’s more demand they’ll try to meet it with extra capacity. But you need to have language to discourage abuse. 10:41: Question about roaming vs. Gobi and how critical XOHM’s differentiated business model is. Barry West has said thay they have published XOHM profiles so that consumers can roam. Most exciting thing about the network is that customers can self serve to keep the cost low. Buying a XOHM product is easy and setting it up is easy. Want to make broadband affordable. (Priciing is currently $30 per month as part of a promotion versus $45). 10:44: Barry West admiting that the service is only three quarters of the way built out in Baltimore. Has 180 towers radiating now. Not competing with cellular mobile broadband yet. Will get to 300 towers. 10:47: Dan Hesse saying he hopes to see deal with Clearwire to close by end of the year. Will see dual-mode connection card (EV-DO/WiMax) by end of the year but no phones. Stay tuned for hands on with devices.

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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