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Photo: Samsung's new Wimax PC & PDA

Future of high-speed wireless on show

Samsung Electronics has unveiled four new devices for use on the commercial WiMax network operating in Seoul. While the devices are specific to the South Korean market, they provide a glimpse of the kind of things consumers overseas might be able to get their hands on in the near future as WiMax is launched in other countries.

At the top-end is the SPH-P9200, a 5in ultraportable computer that runs Windows XP and includes a fold-out keyboard. It combines WiMax, Wi-Fi and HSDPA wireless networking and has 30GB of embedded storage. It will cost around $1,500 (£750).

The SPH-M8200 is a PDA that supports both WiMax and EVDO wireless networking. The Windows Mobile 5 device has a 2.8in touchscreen display and also includes mobile digital TV and a camera. It will cost $750 (£375).

Samsung Wimax

Then there are two USB WiMax data adaptors for laptop computers: the SWT-H200K and the SPH-H1300. Both run under Windows XP and Vista and the latter model also includes HSDPA support. They will cost $90 (£45) and $180 (£90), respectively.

The Seoul WiMax network currently covers most of the city including several underground railway lines. This makes it possible to surf the Internet at speeds of several hundred kilobits per second from a moving vehicle or train. The underground coverage extends to stations and subway tunnels.

It was launched in 2006 but hasn't caught the attention of consumers. To-date there are only about 70,000 subscribers to the service - something that operator KT blames on a lack of attractive terminals.

South Korean cellular operators use both the CDMA and WCDMA standards thus the use of the CDMA EVDO or WCDMA HSDPA technologies.

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