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Sunday, September 2, 2007

The Nokia N810 Wimax Edition - What is it?

Yes, we're back! If you've been following the internet tablet world you may have heard that Nokia is bringing out a tablet called the "N810 Wimax Edition", and here's our guide to what you need to know about it:


Is the N810 Wimax Edition a new internet tablet?

No, not really. It's just an ordinary N810 with a special chip added to allow it to use Wimax.


What the heck is Wimax?

It's like Wi-Fi, but with a longer range. It lets you access the internet at high speed wirelessly.

At the moment it's mostly used by businesses but some companies are talking about setting up public Wimax networks which you could subscribe to.

So far though, only a handful of American cities will receive these kinds of services, and the N810 Wimax Edition will only be on sale in those cities.


Who should buy the N810 Wimax Edition?

Only people who will be within range of a compatible Wimax network, which is a very small number of people at the moment.


When is it coming out?

This Summer apparently, depending on when the compatible Wimax networks are rolled out. Nokia doesn't run these networks so they have no control over when this will actually happen.


Does the N810 Wimax Edition have any other advantages over the ordinary N810 apart from Wimax compatibility?

No. The only thing that makes the Wimax Edition special is that it can use Wimax. Apart from that, it's exactly the same as an ordinary N810 but in a darker casing.


What about the updated operating system in the N810 Wimax Edition?

Yes, the OS is updated in the N810 Wimax Edition, but this updated version will also be available for free for the N800 and ordinary N810, so it's nothing special.


Does the N810 Wimax Edition have a keyboard?

Yes it does. It's exactly the same physically as the ordinary N810.

Some websites claimed it didn't because a leaked publicity photo showed the tablet closed, but the official publicity photo above shows it open and definitely equipped with a keyboard.


Is the N810 Wimax Edition available outside America?

No, at the moment the N810 Wimax Edition is a US-only release, and even in America it will only be on sale in areas with compatible Wimax networks.

Wimax is a very new technology with very little support at the moment, so there's just no point giving the N810 Wimax Edition a wider release.


Why isn't Wimax more widely available?

Mainly because it's new, but also partly because there are already lots of long range broadband-speed wireless networks which use 3G and 3.5G technology. These are normally accessed through a phone network operator, and that's why some mobile phones are called 3G phones.

3.5G is often also known as HSDPA and HSUPA, because these are two commonly-used technical standards on 3.5G networks.

To add to Wimax's problems, the cost to use the internet via phone networks is going down all the time, while the speed and coverage are increasing. It may be that Wimax networks will be redundant by the time they launch in Europe, because they will not offer anything better than the existing mobile phone networks.

America however is a different story, as phone network operators in the USA are notoriously expensive, slow and unreliable. For Americans Wimax may offer a genuinely cheaper and faster way to get the internet when they're on the move, largely because American phone network operators are so terrible.