Samsung Plays Broadband Device 'Leapfrog'

CHICAGO -- 4G World -- In case you hadn't noticed, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) is kicking butt and taking names when it comes to delivering next-gen mobile broadband devices ahead of its rivals.

Here at the 4G World event in Chicago, the vendor had a number of new and recent WiMax launches on show at its booth. And the No. 2 handset vendor in the world is promising a couple of Long Term Evolution (LTE) device launches in 2010 and says it will start testing devices using the 802.16m or "WiMax 2" standard in 2011.

"We keep leap-frogging overselves," Rick Svensson, director of Samsung's mobile WiMax business unit, tells Unstrung. "Our engineers keep trying to squeeze more performance out of OFDM."

Orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM) is the radio technology that underpins both WiMax and LTE and is used in both the current standards and the next versions -- 802.16m and LTE advanced.

Samsung is showing off three WiMax devices it's already selling in the U.S., plus the "Mondi" tablet, and a couple of different netbook mini-PCs with WiFi and WiMax connectivity.

Even more interesting was the GSM/WiFi/WiMax handset from South Korea that Samsung had under glass.

MetroPCS Inc. (NYSE: PCS) and Verizon Wireless have already revealed that Samsung is delivering test devices and commercial dualmode devices for their trial LTE networks, but there were none at the show.

Svensson, however, says Samsung expects to have a couple of LTE handsets out next year, with volume production in 2011. The firm is expecting to start testing 802.11m in 2011, with greater volumes in 2012.

People Unstrung talked to here on the show floor suggest Samsung is the first vendor to actually put a date on 802.16m devices.

The next WiMax standard will be the first to adhere to actual "4G" requirements. This means that it should -- on paper at least -- offer 1-Gbit/s downloads when the user is stationary, and 100 Mbit/s when on the move. Bring it on!

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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