Laptops ready for WiMAX era

Sprint Nextel hopes to turn Baltimore into the Starbucks of WiMAX by making the port city between Washington and Philadelphia one big hotspot. While Starbucks drew hordes of laptop users to its coffee shops with the promise of WiFi connectivity, Sprint aims to lure a new breed of laptop users to Baltimore with WiMAX connectivity accessible through eight new laptops built by four manufacturers--Lenovo, Asus, Acer and Toshiba.

Of course, as David Critchley, worldwide segment manager-ThinkPads at Lenovo conceded, "It's one city on one carrier (and) we're not trying to make it more than it is, but it is the launch of a new technology and we think it is a pretty good technology."

It better be. While prices are dropping, laptops still aren't cheap and it's unlikely that customers will be happy about getting a feature that's like a wireless bridge to nowhere. Critchley is confident that will change. "We know that there are college campuses experimenting with it and we know that there are individuals or businesses that may be concentrated in one city that would like that over using their cable or phone company. If those customers come calling, we will be ready for them," he said.

For more:
- see this article
- also check out pictures from yesterday's Xohm launch event

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