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Motorola on Tuesday showed off its WiMax chipset, which the handset maker plans to include in mobile phones next year.
The chipset, shown at WiMax World in Chicago, is designed to support WiMax wireless wide-area networks, which are under construction in dozens of metropolitan areas across the nation. WiMax is seen as an alternative to Wi-Fi in delivering data and voice services to mobile devices, such as smart phones and handheld computers. WiMax's biggest advantage is a bigger, faster pipe for moving data, and its ability to carry over far greater distances.
Motorola said it plans to start delivering WiMax-enabled handsets to carriers around the world in 2008. One such carrier is Sprint Nextel. The company's Xohm business unit is building with partner Clearwire a nationwide WiMax network. Sprint has said it expects to have WiMax available in about 30 U.S. metropolitan markets next year.
Motorola says its chipset modem is designed for WiMax 802.16e compliance. The hardware has been tested in Motorola's own infrastructure products, as well as equipment from other mobile manufacturers, according to Motorola.
"With this chipset, Motorola has been able to redefine what is possible for WiMax mobile devices, enabling a wider portfolio of devices, from voice-centric handsets to multimedia terminals," Gary Koerper, VP of platform planning and systems architecture at Motorola, said in a statement.
Motorola is providing WiMax infrastructure technology to 12 commercial systems, and has been involved in more than 40 trials worldwide since late 2006, the company said.
A major challenge to WiMax is likely to come from wireless carriers building out their cellular networks to deliver data faster. Those services, however, have been expensive. WiMax supporters believe the technology can beat rivals in price, as well as speed.