Comsys and ZTE both had one mutual trick up their sleeves. The idea was inevitable: With WiMAX phones on the horizon, WiMAX phones should work easier than today’s phones as wireless modems for computers.
The solution that Comsys appears to be embracing is the flip-out USB port model. The phone will carry a full USB port that slides out, enabling direct connection to a computer. Once connected, the phone can continue to receive calls over the WiMAX network, and feeds internet to the computer simultaneously.
Comsys said that this rather low-tech approach won’t interfere with savvy-er options such as Wi-Fi slinging and Bluetooth. It’s just an additional option for those that are too low-tech to deal with the hassles of wireless mesh networking.
Comsys’s prototype was featured below, and we also saw ZTE’s model (shown to us under background). ZTE’s was much more interesting, for one reason in particular.
Since 2005, we’ve been waiting for the first CDMA & WiMAX hybrid phone. We saw it at the show, but unfortunately we can’t share photos of it. Safe to say, Sprint is the only main customer currently for the device. The device operates in a similar manner to Comsys’s, but benefits from ZTE’s CDMA and EV-DO developments, being able to hand off transparently between WiMAX, EV-DO, and 1xRTT connections. ZTE has indicated that they plan to build a line of models (to satisfy mid-range and high-end customers), and cautioned that the devices at the show were reference-model designs.