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Samsung’s WiMAX MID Hits The Streets

Dallas – Samsung is rolling out its WiMAX/Wi-Fi-equipped Mondi mobile Internet device (MID).

Samsung launched the device through its Web site at $449 without service contract and is also rolling out the device to distributors, which will offer it for August availability by retailers in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. In those markets, retail outlets owned by WiMAX carrier Clearwire will offer the device beginning Aug. 1, as will select Best Buy stores.

At retail, the Mondi will be priced at $449 without a Clearwire service contract and $349 with a two-year service

contract, Samsung said.

For its part, Sprint hasn’t said whether it will offer the Mondi in the three markets, where it will begin in August to resell Clearwire’s 4G service under its own name. Sprint has a 51 percent stake in Clearwire, which plans to bring mobile WiMAX service under the Clear brand to 80 markets covering up to 120 million people by the end of 2010. For now, however, mobile WiMAX service is available only in Atlanta, Baltimore, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.

Mondi, named after the Latin word for world, features laptop power, a 4.3-inch wide-VGA touchscreen, slide-down QWERTY keyboard, Opera 9.5 Web browser, GPS and preloaded maps that turn it into an Internet-connected personal navigation device. It lacks voice-calling capability.

The device also features Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional smartphone OS, Samsung’s widget-based TouchWiz user interface, push email support, 3-megapixel camera/camcorder, instant messaging support, 4GB of embedded memory and MicroSD slot that accepts 32GB cards.

For its 4G rollout, Sprint will offer WiMAX devices through its stores, third-party retailers, Sprint business channels, telesales and online, a spokeswoman said. Future Sprint-branded WiMAX products will include 4G-embedded laptops, an expanded selection of dual-mode 3G/4G modems, single-mode devices, 4G-equipped personal Wi-Fi hot spot routers, and a phone that combines 3G CDMA and 4G, a spokeswoman said without revealing launch dates. Right now, Sprint offers a 3G/4G dual-mode modem through its Web site and telesales operation.

Sprint plans to launch Sprint-branded 4G service later this year in Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago; Dallas and Ft. Worth, Texas; and Honolulu, Philadelphia and Seattle.

Clearwire’s mobile WiMAX service delivers peak downlink speeds of more than 10Mbps and average downlink speeds of 3Mbps to 6Mbps. The speeds are promoted as three to five times faster than 3G services offered by other national wireless carrier today, based on average download speeds, the company said.

Other investors in Clearwire include cable operators Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Brighthouse Networks.