Clearwire CEO Bill Morrow reiterated his company's commitment to launching a dual-mode 3G/WiMAX smartphone in the second half of the year, and hinted that it may run Google's Android platform. The device would access Clearwire's mobile WiMAX network but would also be able to make voice calls over Sprint's CDMA network; Sprint holds a majority stake in Clearwire.
Morrow told the Financial Times that the company's ability to deliver 4G data speeds will continue to be its main competitive advantage, but also acknowledged the importance of voice services. "Voice is still very important. ... We will be in the smartphone business and will launch devices this year," he said.
The Clearwire chief did not identify the companies that might produce such devices, but noted a "natural affinity" between Android and Clearwire's all-IP network architecture. Rumors of a WiMAX Android smartphone are not new; Scott Lane, the director of sales and marketing for Sprint's 4G unit, said last year the carrier might produce a dual-mode handset that "could be based on Android" partly because Sprint has a "close relationship with Google."
In other Clearwire news, the blog Boy Genius Report said the company was close to launching two new WiMAX modems that have built-in VoIP functionality. Clearwire spokeswoman Susan Johnston declined to comment on the report, but noted that the company currently offers residential VoIP services.
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