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Nokia's N800 tablet is to get Mobile WiMAX connectivity in order to be used on Sprint's US WiMAX network next year, though it's probably keeping Wi-Fi and Bluetooth just in case.

The N800 sits oddly in Nokia's portfolio of mobile phones, and the occasional set-top box. With VoIP it can make and receive phone calls, but calling it a mobile phone only causes confusion as it has no cellular connectivity - it slips between the converging technologies.

But it is an excellent platform for Nokia, and anyone else, to try out new ideas and technologies. Being Linux based smoothes software development, and the relatively large form factor (compared to a phone handset) makes the addition of new technologies less complex.

Anyone surprised by this endorsement of a non-cellular technology should remember that Nokia doesn't consider itself to be in the mobile phone business - it's in the personal electronics business, and proudly claims itself to be the largest manufacturer of portable music players and digital cameras.

Nokia has patents in parts of the 3G standard, so would like to see that succeed, but it's certainly not going to cut itself off from alternative technologies if they provide another route into the pockets of punters. ®

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