LAS VEGAS — Service provider Sprint, which has suffered some much-publicized problems following its merger with Nextel, losing customers at an alarming rate, is making a major push towards its 4G/Wimax efforts here at the CTIA wireless show.
WiMax is a “4G” or Fourth Generation wireless technology offering bandwidth up to 100Mbps. It’s considered a rival to forthcoming LTE (Long Term Evolution) technology being pursued by Sprint rivals AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), but Sprint and Clearwire have been aggressive in marketing WiMax ahead of the pack, making it a huge and risky bet numbering in the billions of dollars. Today Sprint announced its bringing more WiMAX cities online 2010, adding Cincinnati, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City and St. Louis to their list of 4G locations.
Today at 1:30 PT Sprint is also expected to announce new 4G device developments. We’ll be attending the event and our live blog will follow below… check back in with us at 1:30 PT!
1:43PM (PT) Oh no, I’m late!! … after a 1 mile trek down an obscure hallway I’ve made it to the Sprint event. Some nice retro furniture and colorful carpet.
1:44PM I literally caught the last of the HTC boss Peter Chou’s somewhat difficult-to-understand speech He was saying a lot about the speed of 4G. He really thinks it’s speedy. It will be good for high-bandwidth applications. I think he’s trying to say is that it’s fast. That’s the gist of it. Oh, and it has Flash (take that Apple).
1:47 The Sprint execs, Kevin Packingham, senior vice president, and Fared Adib, vice president, product development, are now giving a demo of YouTube in HD on the new device, the EVO 4G. They’re having a little fun comparing it side-by-side with the much slower, standard-def Droid phone.
1:48 Oh not sure I mentioned, this is the EVO 4G from HTC, it’s supposed to be out this summer.
1:52 Packingham got some chuckles when he called the video quality of the Droid (comparison device) “sub-par”
1:55 they’re playing some cool HD movie trailer content now. First side-loaded, and now streaming. Something a little awkward about watching a device demo which they are blowing up on large screen though.
1:57 Oh, wait, we’ve now learned that this EVO thing has a….. KICKSTAND!!! The Sprint execs are really excited about that.
2:00 Doing a cool demo of an app that takes a picture of the Eiffel Tower and then returns Google search results of the Eiffel Tower. I think this is the Google Android app called “Goggles.” Fine. But who doesn’t know what the Eiffel Tower is? I mean, you could fake this very easily.
I would be more impressed if they took a picture of the Pulaski Skyway and Google knew what that was:
2:02 We get a quick demo of a 4G-enabled Augmented Reality Browser. Does that sound cool or what? I have no idea what it does, it just sounds so cutting edge and don’t they know it.
2:03 Actually, what they are attempting to do is pick up Twitter feeds by taking an image of the room which has location-enabled Tweeters (Twitters?) on it. True story. What this is is to make the already worthwile-time consuming Twitter even more of a time waster than every before. Yes, and I’m tweeting this.
Just a side thought: If you are location-enabling your Twitter and law enforcement or the IRS is looking for you, this could be a very bad thing.
2:03 Sprint Execs say: Isn’t it great to have mobile device with full broadband multimedia in the car? Uh, not always. Not if the driver is using it.
2:05 They end with a little dig at the Apple iPhone, calling it a device with inferior performance. More chuckles from this very Sprint-sympathetic audience.
2:05 Seriously, though, that augmented reality browser thing. That is some futuristic stuff. That’s like, totally Blade Runner, dude. I want one.
2:06 That’s it! It’s over. Short and sweet. Well, these guys drove home the point: Much more capabilities are available on a 4G device. Yes, more bandwidth enables more powerful applications. The demo was impressive. I want one. The main focus was on entertainment apps, but this augmented reality stuff has real potential. When 4G arrives, people may never again have to interact with real humans.
My grade on the presentation: B+