WiMAX pulls into the reality station

Based on the types of announcements coming out of WiMAX World, which is in Chicago this week, WiMAX is pulling into the reality station. The industry has Sprint Nextel to thank for that as it puts pressure on handset and chipset suppliers to come to market by 2008 with Wave-2 compliant unsubsidized cheap devices that consume less power.

In particular, some big-named players in the silicon business made some notable announcements this week. Motorola announced its long-awaited WiMAX chipset for handheld devices. The solution is scheduled to debut in Motorola's line-up of WiMAX mobile devices beginning in 2008 for various carriers around the world, including Sprint's Xohm business unit.

Nokia will use Intel's Baxter Peak mobility chipset in its N Series Internet tablets, the ultra-portable computer line Nokia currently powers with WiFi and the first WiMAX handheld Nokia plans to ship in 2008. (See story No. 4)

Wavesat and IBM are working together to develop an 802.16e WiMAX chipset targeting consumer electronic devices. As part of the agreement, Wavesat's UMobile TM 802.16e chipset will be manufactured by IBM. This is IBM's first official WiMAX chip deal. (See story No. 5) The goal, the companies said, is to produce an out-of-the-box silicon platform so device makers won't have to add any additional storage.

I suspect we'll see several silicon players who were gun shy of WiMAX's prospects jumping into the game and partnering with those players that have a head start such as Beceem and Sequans.--Lynnette