Last week ASUS launched its first WiMAX-ready notebook PC, the ASUST M50Vm-A1WM, a portable that isn’t short on power. This PC has an Intel Core 2 Duo Processor, discrete graphics engine and is HDMI ready, and most impressively features 4G WiMAX connectivity.
The reason this is interesting from a mobile point of view is that the laptop is the first to support the WiMAX standard for wireless Internet connectivity. WiMAX has been widely seen as a technology that could blanket large areas so you’re not endlessly searching for hot spots with your portable PC.
The problem is that despite the repeated hype over the past few years WiMAX has been slow to come, and given that the Dow is sinking faster than the Titanic, it is unlikely that WiMAX coverage is going to pick up the pace. So you can head down to Baltimore, Maryland, where there is a WiMAX network in place or wait. And on the point of Baltimore – I can’t help but think of HBO’s excellent TV series, The Wire. It is a shame that the series has concluded, because I’d love to see how the under-equipped Baltimore PD in the series as well as the drug crews they are chasing would deal with WiMAX. For the record the show had been criticized by some for providing tips to other drug crews, including the use of disposable mobile phones (aka burners), and using codes when talking on a cell phone.
But back to the point about WiMAX, currently there are already other applications and devices in the works, notably the WMWifiRouter 1.20, a new Windows Mobile application from Morose Media that would transform a Wi-Fi enabled smartphone into a wireless hotspot via Wi-Fi, USB or Bluetooth. It is compatible with any smartphone featuring the Windows Mobile 6, Windows Mobile 5 AKU 3.3 or newer.
This application certainly frees users from having to dash to the “coffee place” to work on a PC. And given that this technology is available and will likely become even more commonplace with many mobile devices maybe WiMAX won’t be the only solution in town for anywhere broadband – at least as long as you have your trusty smartphone to provide the Wi-Fi for you.