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Samsung Leaks the First U.S. WiMax Device

Samsung's really betting on the future recently—first there's news of its next-gen HDTVs, and now its leaked details on what's due to be the first dedicated WiMax gadget to hit the U.S. market. It's excitingly dubbed the SWD-M100 Mondi.

Samsung SWD-M100 MondiWiMax may or may not be the "next big thing" in terms of speedy wireless Internet for mobile devices, depending on whether it or rival "Long Term Evolution" gets its technological act together more quickly. But the success of either system also depends on having compatible devices on sale—hence the Samsung Mondi. A few spots of info about it dribbled out via an RSS feed and were grabbed by keen-eyed surfers before the leak was stopped up.

From the imagery we can tell it's a large palm-top slider device, with a screen (apparently touch sensitive) that's around four inches across, and a full QWERTY keypad with extra navigation keys and what looks like a directional D-pad.

In fact, that's a description that fits quite well with this famous piece of text: "a device which looked rather like a largish electronic calculator. This had about a hundred tiny flat press buttons and a screen about four inches square on which any one of a million "pages" could be summoned at a moment's notice. It looked insanely complicated." That, of course, is how Douglas Adams describes the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy—a particularly fitting reference given that the Mondi is a portable Internet device that uses the super-high speed WiMax tech to deliver content to its browser. Though it doesn't look "insanely complicated," it's interesting that Samsung's chosen to go with a physical keyboard, given the current industry trend towards all-touchscreen devices.

We don't know what CPU is inside, but we can see a Windows key on the keyboard—implying either Windows Mobile or a full XP/Vista/Windows 7 compatibility. Plus, there's definitely a front-facing camera on the unit, good for video calls we assume.

It's apparently destined for Clear's ClearWire WiMax network, which should be in 80 cities across the country by the end of 2010. The service has already been launched in Portland and Baltimore. Samsung's saying that the Mondi's also the first WiMax device in the U.S., which it may indeed be. Nokia had been planning to launch a very similar N810 palm-top but shelved the scheme to focus on rival LTE handsets. We don't know exactly how much it'll cost, or when the Mondi will hit the market, but it'll likely be before the end of the year. The device looks pretty polished in terms of design, and the expansion of WiMax coverage tallies with that timing. 

[via Electronista, PhoneScoop]