Sprint to introduce first WiMAX phone this summer

Sprint Nextel has revealed that it plans to introduce its first WiMAX/3G smartphone during the first half of the year, which is earlier than expected.

Paget Alves, Sprint's president of Business Markets, said in an interview with Forbes that the device will be out by the summer. The device could be the rumored HTC Supersonic.

A lack of a WiMAX handset has been seen as one critical piece hurting the rapid adoption of WiMAX. During Sprint's fourth-quarter call with analysts, CEO Dan 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.

Sprint resells WiMAX services from Clearwire and owns a majority in the company. Clearwire plans to roll out mobile WiMAX to 120 million POPs by the end of the year, with market launches in Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. 

In a recent interview with FierceWireless, Hesse didn't address the idea of the WiMAX device being the Supersonic, but indicated Sprint's dual-mode phones would take advantage of greater processing power, faster speeds and larger screens--thereby giving customers a better video experience. "Because you can download data so much faster, the video experience will be so much better on 4G," he said. "And you'll see larger, higher-resolution screens generally on 4G."

The Supsersonic 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.

For more:
- read this Forbes article
- see this Brighthand post
- take a look at this Engadget post

Related articles:
Sprint: 2010 is the year of 4G (WiMAX that is)
Clearwire CEO promises WiMAX handsets by Christmas 2010
2010 Prediction No. 1: WiMAX takes off in the U.S.
Clearwire CEO hints at WiMAX Android smartphone