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Intel will ship the next Centrino platform without an option for the worldwide HSDPA 3G cell standard: The partnership with Nokia was supposed to lead to both Wi-Fi and HSDPA (GSM’s top-speed 3G offering) in a single package. Instead, when Santa Rosa launches in the second quarter of this year, Wi-Fi will ride solo. This is the end of a strategy that dates back to the first Centrino launch when an Intel executive told me that it was inevitable that Wi-Fi and cell would both find their way into the platform. Four years later, no such luck.
The bottom line appears to be dollars. Intel told InfoWorld that laptop makers don’t want to pay to have HSDPA integrated in every machine. Intel will consider adding 3G in future platforms, however. Specific manufacturers have chosen to include EVDO and HSDPA embedded in their laptops, but that increases cost and requires consumers or businesses to order specific models.
The upshot is that the cell networks lost the chance to avoid subsidizing hundreds of thousands or millions more PC Cards and ExpressCards, and gain a new audience that could flip a switch to gain cell data service.
The mobile access equipment maker Novatel rolls out new family of adapters: The company’s HSDPA/HSUPA products include a new ExpressCard (Merlin X950D), HSDPA USB Modem (Ovation MC870D), an embedded module (EU870D/EU860D), and an ExpressCard to USB adapter (Merlin XUA-1). The ExpressCard is a worldwide HSDPA, HSUPA, EDGE/GPRS modem with support for full 7.2 Mbps HSDPA speeds, and a future firmware upgrade for 2.1 Mbps HSUPA. HSUPA hasn’t been rolled out yet in any significant way because the focus is always on the downlink side for cellular operators. The Merlin XUA-1 is a unique adapter, allowing the use of an ExpressCard via a USB 2.0 port.
Another day, another EVDO Rev. A modem announcement: Verizon Wireless will sell the USB modem that supports 1xRTT, EVDO Rev. 0 and EVDO Rev. A with both Windows and Mac OS X support. It’ll cost $150 with a two-year commitment; $200 with a one-year contract. Verizon is the only US carrier to offer full support for Mac OS X users, but this appears to be changing in the near term.