Novatel 4G WiMAX MiFi and "wearable mobile devices" coming

Interesting news out of Novatel Wireless today, with the company announcing not only that they've completed testing a new, WiMAX version of their popular MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hostpot, but that they're seemingly experimenting with wearable mobile devices.  The new 4G WiMAX MiFi apparently achieved 18Mbps throughput, with a theoretical peak of over 30Mbps downlink and 10Mbps uplink.

As for the wearable electronics, Novatel have signed up to use Qualcomm's latest range of so-called "Wearable Mobile Device modules".  The two modules offer 1X and 1X EVDO Rev.A connectivity, along with Bluetooth, GPS and an accelerometer, and have USB 2.0 connectivity as well; Novatel have not revealed what plans they have for the two devices – the thought of a wearable MiFi-style hotspot with voice capabilities that you could clip to your lapel or integrate into a wristwatch spring to mind – but Qualcomm expressly designed them for "very small form factor devices."

No timescale for a 4G WiMAX MiFi release, but given Sprint have already launched one such model, the Overdrive by Sierra Wireless, we'd wager they're hurrying to get it to market.  As for any wearable devices, that seems likely to be further down the line again.

Press Release:

Novatel Wireless Completes 18Mbps WiMAX Call With MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot

New Platform Addressing 4G Market for Intelligent Mobile Hotspots

SAN DIEGO, Feb 25, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — Novatel Wireless (Nasdaq: NVTL), a leading provider of wireless broadband solutions, today announced that it has successfully completed over the air testing of its new MiFi(TM) Intelligent Mobile Hotspot prototype based on 4G-WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access). Novatel's WiMAX implementation immediately achieved throughput of 18Mbps in over-the-air testing and can support theoretical peak throughput speeds exceeding 30Mbps downlink and 10Mbps uplink in a 10 MHz channel.

"Novatel Wireless is pleased to support the growing 4G ecosystem and the evolution of next-generation communications with this milestone WiMAX call," said Rob Hadley, CMO, Novatel Wireless. "The combination of our intelligent software platform on MiFi with 4G speeds from Beceem's high-performance 4G-WiMAX chips will open up new opportunities for the growing number of initiatives involving 4G mobile broadband applications and services."

"We are delighted to work with industry leaders such as Novatel Wireless to provide cutting edge solutions that keep customers connected while on the go," said Babu Mandava, CEO, Beceem Communications. "We believe combining the power of our 4G-WiMAX chips with the intelligence and innovation of the MiFi product line will allow Novatel to deliver enhanced functionality, performance and an unrivaled user experience."

Press Release:

Novatel Wireless to Use Qualcomm Wearable Mobile Device Modules

Company to Expand Portfolio of Embedded M2M and CE Devices

SAN DIEGO, Feb 25, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX News Network/ — Novatel Wireless (Nasdaq: NVTL), a leading provider of wireless broadband solutions, today announced that it has completed a technology transfer with Qualcomm Incorporated of two Qualcomm Wearable Mobile Device module designs, enabling the expansion of Novatel Wireless' portfolio of innovative embedded machine to machine (M2M) and consumer electronic (CE) devices.

The Qualcomm Wearable Mobile Device 1X and 1X EV-DO Rev. A are industry leading modules that support integrated GPS, accelerometer and Bluetooth technologies. With data and voice support for 1X and 1X EV-DO Rev. A networks, a standardized USB 2.0 interface and defined APIs and development kit, the modules provide unprecedented functionality and streamlined 3G connectivity for M2M and CE devices.

"With these cutting-edge Wearable Mobile Device module designs from Qualcomm, Novatel Wireless will be able to continue to expand its broad portfolio to meet customer and market demands," said Dr. Slim Souissi, CTO, Novatel Wireless. "Collaboration with industry leaders such as Qualcomm allows Novatel Wireless to focus on services and software development while lowering in house research and development costs and accelerating time to market for best in class solutions."

"Qualcomm is pleased to share its innovative Wearable Mobile Device module technology with Novatel," said Jack Steenstra, Vice President of Engineering at Qualcomm. "Qualcomm's Wearable Mobile Device module designs enable the development of very small form factor devices. This technology transfer agreement will allow Novatel Wireless to commercialize the Wearable Mobile Device WMD-1X and EV-DO modules under its existing agreements with Qualcomm, making them readily available to device developers."