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September 26, 2007 at 4:05 AM

WiMax World: Motorola gives live demos

CHICAGO — At WiMax World last night, Motorola invited the press, analysts and some partners on board a river boat in downtown Chicago to demonstrate some of its WiMax products expected to launch early next year.

The live demonstration required installing four base stations at different points along the Chicago River to deliver the service. In opening remarks, Motorola said it didn’t realize what it was getting into when someone had the great idea of demonstrating WiMax on the river. It was essentially an urban canyon because radio frequencies tend to scatter when they hit water and the river is 30 feet below street level.

But as you’ll see the demonstration went fairly well.

Here’s a map of where the cell sites were located:

motoboatpics 011.jpg

And here’s what a WiMax base station looks like on top of a building:

motoboatpics 007.jpg

The more interesting stuff came when Motorola pulled out the devices that were going to use WiMax. I wrote earlieron this blog about how the key was in applications — not the network. Here are two examples of applications to add to the list:

First up is a live demonstration of a WiMax chipset being used to stream videos from YouTube to the phone. The phone is a working prototype of WiMax, which is not expected to launch commercially until later next year. (Excuse the amateur video quality, I’m a beginner. Also, I apologize for the poor sound quality, but it was very loud in the background because of the number of people on the boat).

In this video, you can see how the WiMax PC card will work in a laptop. WiMax covers much larger distances than Wi-Fi. In the beginning of this clip, you can hear a Motorola executive in the background saying how someday my video could go straight to the Web via WiMax, skipping the mundane process of recording it to tape and then transfering it to my PC and then to the Internet on YouTube.

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