The word at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is wireless. The hot products are mobile and connected, and WiMax may be next big thing.
WiMax broadcasts broadband from a large area so the signal can be picked up while users are moving. So instead of being restricted to WiFi hotspots, users will be able to quickly access the Internet while walking or driving.
At the convention, GM touted a Suburban wired with WiMax that enables users to, for example, make Internet phone calls and map destinations. Mapping with WiMax allows users to see live traffic reports or routes to the closest gas stations with the cheapest gas — at broadband speeds. WiMax-enabled vehicles also provide a vast music library, thanks to music-streaming services.
Intel has been working on the chip to make devices that are WiMax-enabled, and Sprint and Clearwire will be WiMax service providers. Sprint and Intel have been talking about the technology for several years, but it looks like WiMax may be getting close to reality. The technology is expected to be available in Washington, D.C., and Chicago this year.