Report: Sprint to introduce WiMAX smartphone next week

Sprint Nextel, which resells WiMAX service from Clearwire and owns a majority stake in the company, is poised to introduce the first U.S. WiMAX next week during the CTIA Wireless trade show, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing people familiar with the announcement.

The coming of the device has been no secret but the timing has. The smartphone, rumored as the Supersonic by HTC, is expected to unveiled by CEO Dan Hesse on Tuesday. Last month, the operator revealed that it planned to introduce its first WiMAX/3G smartphone during the first half of the year, which was earlier than expected.

The Supersonic is rumored to run on Google's Android 2.1 platform with HTC'S Sense user interface on top of it, and have a 4.3-inch touchscreen display, a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor and a 5-megapixel camera.

A lack of a WiMAX handset has been seen as one critical piece hurting the rapid adoption of WiMAX services. During Sprint's fourth-quarter call with analysts, Hesse said he expected 2010 to become the year of 4G, or WiMAX.

"It's going to be the year that we're the only game in town, and it's a combination of we need to get more markets turned up, and we need to get a better device lineup and then we think we can really start to show some sizable progress," Hesse said during the company's fourth-quarter conference call last month.

Clearwire plans to roll out mobile WiMAX to 120 million POPs by the end of the year, with major market launches in Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 

For more:
- see this WSJ article (sub. req.)

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