Arguably one of the most impressive devices at CTIA 2009 was the new Samsung Mondi, which Samsung Mobile claimed is the "most advanced mobile WiMAX enabled handheld device in the U.S." The Mondi isn't actually a phone -- it doesn't work with any cellular network -- but it can be used for calls using VoIP apps like Fring.

The Mondi is optimized for use with the WiMAX Clear service from Clearwire, which should result in speedy web access when within range of a WiMAX signal. (Which presents a problem, given that the Clearwire service is far from ubiquitous at this point--see below for more details.)

In a statement supporting the release of the Mondi, Bill Ogle, Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung Mobile, said that "The Samsung Mondi is an important step toward our goal of bringing 4G network speeds and connectivity to people across the U.S." The Clear WiMAX service is currently only available in Baltimore and Portland, but the Samsung news release claims that the service should be available in "more than 80 markets by 2010."

I spent a few minutes with the Mondi and CTIA, and it's an impressive device. It uses a slider form factor with a QWERTY keyboard that sports tiny keys (and a small directional pad). The Mondi is packed with features: GPS navigation support, Opera 9.5 web browser, Windows Mobile 6.1 (along with mobile Outlook and Office), WiFi and WiMAX access, 4GB of internal memory, HDMI TV Out, Bluetooth 2.0, and a 3 Megapixel camera/video camera.

Screen transitions were speedy, and a 3D screen-flipping feature added some novelty to the Mondi interface. Pricing and availability details weren't revealed by Samsung at CTIA, but I'd be interested to see how well the Mondi fares. The hardware and software presentation is impressive, but I'd imagine the Mondi's ultimate fate will depend on how quickly (and affordably) Clearwire's WiMAX service expands into new markets. The Mondi will work with the standard WiFi, but it's clearly designed for power users looking for the fastest mobile internet access speeds.

In a statement supporting the release of the Mondi, Bill Ogle, Chief Marketing Officer for Samsung Mobile, said that "The Samsung Mondi is an important step toward our goal of bringing 4G network speeds and connectivity to people across the U.S." The Clear WiMAX service is currently only available in Baltimore and Portland, but the Samsung news release claims that the service should be available in "more than 80 markets by 2010."

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