(uhh, unless you use a Mac, more on that in a moment...)
Sprint yesterday opened the wireless floodgates for customers to jump on the WiMax-powered 4G network. They join network partners Clear and Comcast in offering broadband-like speeds on a wireless device.
We're not alone.
While the versatile U300 is capable of 4G speeds in markets such as Portland, Baltimore, Atlanta and Vegas -- with others (such as Seattle & Salem, Ore. coming this year) -- the killer app is having access to the current 3G network in those spots where WiMax hasn't been rolled out yet.
Sprint tells us in a press release:
Sprint made history by launching 4G in Baltimore in September 2008. In addition to Portland, Sprint also launched 4G service in Atlanta and Las Vegas today Sprint also plans to deploy Sprint 4G service in these additional markets in 2009: Chicago, IL; Dallas, Ft. Worth, Philadelphia, PA; Austin, Texas; Abilene, Texas; Amarillo, Texas; Boise, Idaho; Bellingham, Wash.; Charlotte, N.C.; Corpus Christi, Texas; Greensboro, N.C.; Honolulu, HI; Killeen-Temple, Texas; Lubbock, Texas; Maui, Hawaii; Midland-Odessa, Texas; Raleigh, N.C.; Salem, Ore.; San Antonio, Texas; Seattle, WA: Waco, Texas; and Wichita Falls, Texas.
One thing the U300 can't do, quite yet, is accommodate Mac OS X or Linux users. While initially promised for "Summer" my contacts at Sprint now tell me "Fall 2009".
But wait, there's a workaround!
For an extra $100, you can plug your U300 into Sprint's Cradlepoint PHS300s [Note: I believe the photo on Sprint.com is actually of the business version] mobile router and turn any WiFi-equipped device (such as your laptop, iPod Touch, personal gaming device... heck, even an iPhone!) into a 4G-uber-fast mobile broadband surfin' machine. Okay, so it's another device to lug around, and a battery to charge, but I'm a huge fan of the ubiquitous nature of WiFi (and sharing your connection among up to 5 devices).
So now the choice is yours: Sprint, Comcast, or Clear -- but if you're a mobile professional, a connectivity addict, or just want the latest toys -- upgrade to WiMax.
For more on this story, listen to my report (MP3), as heard on Newsradio 750 KXL during Portland's Morning News 18 Aug 2009.