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HTC Intros WiMax'd Smartphone

High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) is known for its cutting-edge smartphones, and it's continuing that trend with the release of a Windows Mobile handset that's capable of using WiMax.

The HTC Max 4G is based on the company's HTC Touch HD, except it includes support for the next-generation mobile broadband. For now, the device will be exclusive to Russia's Scartel, which is in the process of building a WiMax network throughout the country under the brand Yota.

"Yota was established to provide a unique set of mobile communication services to millions of people in Russia, and today we have launched the first device and services to realize its full potential," said Denis Sverdlov, Scartel's general director, in a statement. "We really believe that these innovative services, high-speed Internet, and stylish HTC Max 4G will completely change the communications industry, just as the introduction of cellular communications did many years ago."

This high-speed connectivity opens the door for many features and services. For instance, Yota soon will offer a video-on-demand service that broadcasts live television. The Max 4G will be able to display up to nine channels simultaneously, Scartel executives said.

The Max 4G will have a large 3.8-inch touch screen that's capable of displaying a 480-by-800 resolution. It's a Window Mobile device, but HTC has layered its TouchFlo 3-D user interface on top to make navigation easier and more finger-friendly.

Of course, the smartphone can be used for voice calls with any of Russia's GSM providers. There's also built-in Wi-Fi, assisted GPS, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and Bluetooth capabilities. There will be 8 GB of memory onboard, and that can be expanded via the microSD slot.

The handset is slated to ship at the end of November for more than $1,000, and the company did not say if the Max 4G would be released in other territories. But withSprint (NYSE: S)'s WiMax network getting off the ground in the United States, and the other carriers looking to deploy Long Term Evolution networks soon, it's only a matter of time before 4G smartphones become widespread.

— Marin Perez, InformationWeek

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