Sprint, WiMAX and the Nokia N800

Interesting news from Sprint/Clearwire that they will be launching a WiMAX enabled Nokia N800 sometime in 2008.

It’s great that Sprint is pushing the envelope by launching this new wireless network, as I think the wireless marketplace in North America needs someone to shake things up a bit. Unfortunately with such new network technology the need for devices to support it does provide a significant barrier. The Nokia N-Series devices do provide a place to start in advance of the technological advancements required to fit WiMAX onto more mobile phone sized devices or until it is more readily available in laptops. Though with the practical use-cases for devices such as the N800 and other Ultra Mobile PC’s still hard to pinpoint I wonder if this might be a bit of a case of the cart before the horse for Sprint? or will the availability of this network and the existing developer support for this lineup of devices lead to the discovery of a home for this device and thus broader adoption? Maybe it is stroke of genius from Sprint that we just can’t see yet!

As an aside, I think the Linux based N800/N770-series devices are a fantastic example of the potential for individual innovation and platform development. I don’t know the exact figures (lets be honest, I can’t even offer a ballpark figure) but for arguments sake I would be surprised if Nokia has sold more then 100,000 of these things (anyone have any idea?). Despite this, the amount of development, and experimentation going on with this platform is staggering when you compare it to the state of things on the other more closed platforms mentioned previously.

All in all a job very well done by Nokia to provide the framework and encouragement which has fed the fire of the open source development community. If only the same effort/investment was put into creating a similar open development platform for mobile phones one can only imagine the excitement, innovation and community involvement that would erupt all over the world.

Filed under: Open Source | Permalink