Google gets into WiMAX bed with Sprint

Sprint’s mobile WiMAX network gained yet more momentum on Thursday as the US carrier announced a deal with web giant Google to develop a mobile portal for the platform.

Under the pact, Google will provide search, interactive communications and social networking tools as well as location assisted services.

Sprint described the agreement as a milestone in the carrier’s mobile internet strategy and indicated that user generated content and multimedia offerings would form a big part of that initiative.

“Google and Sprint will optimize the internet experience for the digital lifestyle,” said Barry West, president of 4G Mobile Broadband for Sprint. “This collaboration brings what will be the best mobile internet network together with the leading Internet search company. It allows us to capitalize on the powerful mobility and internet trends, and create wireless services and applications that take advantage of each company’s history of product development innovation.”

Specifically, Sprint’s network-based location detection and presence capabilities will be matched with various tools from Google’s suite, Google Apps, including Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Talk services.

Sprint said that it would provide open standard APIs (application programming interfaces) to its market partners and the developer community to create customized products for browser-enabled devices.

The carrier also verified that music, video, TV and on demand products were also part of its wireless broadband strategy and said eventually, the WiMAX service will be available in vehicles for navigation information, news and entertainment.

Sprint plans WiMAX test service in the Chicago, Baltimore and Washington DC areas by year end. Commercial service is expected to be available in a number of markets starting April 2008 and cover 100 million people by year-end 2008 in conjunction with a planned partnership with Clearwire.

Earlier this month, wireless broadband player Clearwire joined forces with Sprint to build out the nationwide WiMAX network.

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