Samsung dual-mode slider phone supports CDMA and WiBro.
Samsung has revealed a dual-mode mobile phone which supports mobile WiMax wireless internet access and standard 3G CDMA technology, industry sources have revealed to vnunet.com.
The prototype next-generation handset is being shown at the CommunicAsia trade show in Singapore, according to sources who have seen the phone.
The new Samsung dual-mode slider phone supports CDMA and WiBro, a Korean-developed variant of the 802.16e mobile WiMax standard.
No other information has emerged about the prototype, and the company’s headquarters had not replied to questions by the end of office hours in Korea.
Korean media reported last month that Samsung was rumoured to be working on a new WiBro device, dubbed the Dual-Band Dual-Mode phone. The rumours appear to refer to the product unveiled in Singapore.
Among other products on show in Singapore, Samsung launched what it claims is the world’s thinnest phone, the 6.9mm Ultra Edition 6.9 (X820) which weighs 66g.
The company also released a 12.9mm phone with a 3-megapixel camera. These new phones all have 80MB of memory.
Korean telecoms service providers and manufacturers are strongly backing the WiBro standard. Korea Telecom, the country’s largest provider of fixed-line phone services, plans to launch a commercial WiBro service this month, according to the Korea Times.
The WiMax and WiBro wireless internet standards operate in a similar way to Wi-Fi, but offer a range measured in kilometres rather than tens of metres, and speeds ranging from hundreds of kilobits per second to several megabits per second.
Uncertainty remains about the compatibility of current WiBro devices with the full WiMax standard or its mobile offshoot.
Korean firms backing WiBro, such as LG, said last year that they will make 802.16e mobile WiMax and WiBro fully interoperable, but it is not clear whether this has yet been achieved.
The 802.16e standard was ratified by the IEEE in December. Samsung has recently begun describing WiBro as « the Korean brand name of mobile WiMax technology ».
Telecis, a US-based chip developer founded by a former researcher engineer for Samsung and Korea Telecom, has developed the TCW 2720 chip which supports WiMax and WiBro as well as the latest Wi-Fi standards.
Some companies, most notably Nokia, have already launched mobile phones which can connect to wireless internet networks and GSM/CDMA mobile networks. These phones, however, are limited to the short range 802.11x Wi-Fi wireless Lan technology.
Wireless VoIP phone calls carried on mobile WiMax networks have been mooted as a potential competitor to traditional mobile phone services.
It has been suggested that WiMax, possibly in conjunction with Wi-Fi, could provide unlimited free calls for a fixed monthly fee, but potential issues of call quality and limited bandwidth remain unresolved.