Dell Offers WiMax Option For Mini 10 Netbook

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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Dell has extended the number of its machines capable of WiMax connectivity after offering it as an optional extra on its Dell Inspiron Mini 10 netbook

Dell is giving its users the option of WiMax connectivity on its Inspiron Mini 10 netbook, expanding its portfolio of WiMax capable machines.

“What we’re offering on the new Mini 10 is an internal combo card that can connect to WiMax or WiFi via 802.11a/g or n. On the WiFi side, the 2×2 card supports enhanced 802.11 access,” Lionel Menchaca, chief blogger on Dell’s Direct2Dell blog, wrote 18 February. “The internal WiMax combo card is available as a $60 (£39) option for new Mini 10 customers in the United States at this point.”

Clearwire, with partner Sprint, currently offers 4G WiMax service in approximately 27 US markets, offering coverage to 30 million people. In 2010, it plans to expand its service to additional metro markets, including New York, Houston and the San Francisco Bay area, with plans of covering up to 120 million people by year’s end.

Dell’s Menchaca points out that while WiMax is expanding in the United States, its major growth areas today are in Asia and Europe – where the Mini 10 is available through sites such as www.MediaWorld.it.

In a 15 February statement, the WiMax Forum predicted that WiMax coverage worldwide will surpass 1 billion users by the end of 2011. Currently, the service covers 620 million people in 147 countries.

“The expansion of our footprint will help meet the pent-up demand for true mobile broadband in the US and allow us to continue to serve as a global resource for best practices in 4G network development around the world,” Ali Tabassi, senior vice president of Clearwire and a member of the WiMax forum, said in a statement.

Menchaca describes WiMax’s major perks as flexibility and mobile Internet access speeds.

“In areas where WiMax is supported, that means you can connect to the web while riding in a car, outside walking around in your neighborhood, or even on the side of the road,” wrote Menchaca. “To put it in perspective, I’m able to get around 8Mbps from my driveway. Rock on.”