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ABI: Handheld Electronics To Go Broadband

New York –Factory-level shipments of portable consumer electronics devices with wireless-broadband connections other than Wi-Fi will approach 50 million worldwide in 2012, according to an ABI Research forecast.

Portable game devices and portable media players (PMPs) will dominate this segment, although the numbers will include some digital cameras and camcorders, ABI said.

The wireless broadband connections will be based on 3G cellular and Mobile WiMAX, and such products have already appeared in Korean stores, the company said. They include the iStation NetForce from Digital Cube and Cowon’s Q5. Both are PMPs with add-on W-CDMA HSDPA (high speed downlink packet access) module. Then there’s the Samsung VLUU i70 digital camera with embedded HSDPA. The 7.2-megapixel camera takes videos, received T-DMB mobile DTV, plays MP3 and video files, and lets users send and download photos and videos.

In the long term, “WiMAX has more potential than cellular-based connections for these devices,” said principal analyst Philip Solis. “It’s an IP-based network with simpler architecture and better connection to the Internet.” Sprint will promote such devices heavily, he said.