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Acer Aspires to WiMAX with 4G laptop duo

But only if you're living in Baltimore

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Acer is the first company to announce a pair of WiMAX-touting notebooks so that residents of Baltimore, where Sprint has rolled out its WiMAX service, can enjoy speeds approaching 3G with 4G technology.

The two models of notebook, the Aspire 4930-6862 and 6930-6771, include embedded WiMAX connectivity compatible with the Xohm network already live in Baltimore and scheduled to cover the rest of the US eventually. Speed of download is promised as being between 2Mb/s and 4Mb/s, with half that for uploads.

Both notebooks are Centrino 2-based, and Intel is quoted as saying: "Residents of Baltimore [will] have the ability to share and download videos and photos, as well as access social media networks seamlessly anywhere they go in the coverage area." All using a technology in which Intel holds significant patents, which explains their interest.

Acer Aspire 6930

Acer's Aspire 6930: now with WiMAX - but only in Baltimore

Before, when we lambasted Sprint for calling WiMAX a 4G technology we received a (polite) note explaining that the standard shared many attributes with LTE, and thus deserved the 4G moniker. It also claimed that, once properly loaded, LTE won't be as fast as estimated.

LTE certainly makes some bold speed claims (100Mb/s), and we'll have to wait for a proper deployment before we know what it can achieve commercially; but speeds in excess of 2Mb/s are already being achieved by loaded 3G networks, so Xohm still has a lot to prove.

Still, integrating the technology into notebooks is a good start for any networking technology, and the two offerings from Acer are nice enough; the 4930-6862 sports a 14in screen, while the 6930-6771 takes that up to 16 inches and delivers a 16:9 aspect radio.

Both units feature 3GB of RAM, 320GB hard drives, 802.11n, dual-layer DVD burners, Windows Vista and a recommended price of a penny under $900.

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