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Nokia readies HSDPA dongle for laptops

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Nokia will ship a USB HSDPA 3G dongle early next year in a bid to grab a share of the growing laptop-oriented mobile broadband business.

To date, Nokia has left the modem market to others, allowing Chinese connectivity specialist Huawei to grab the lion's share of the business, which it's battling the likes of Sierra Wireless and Novatel Wireless for.

All three sell their products primarily to carriers for rebranding - Huawei is behind dongles offered by 3, BT and Vodafone, for instance; Sierra makes O2's USB Business Modem - and, according to Nokia hardware VP Tapio Markki, quoted by Reuters, that's what the Finnish phone giant hopes to do too.

Huawei deserves special mention for its Linux support. While all the main modem makers provide Linux drivers - or at least instructions on how to get their products working under the open source OS - Huawei has been the only vendor to fully engage with the emerging netbook market, and provide software for these machines' often idiosyncratic Linux distros.

A couple of years ago, Nokia attempted to get into the market for internal 3G modems, in a partnership with Intel. But the relationship was short-lived, and the two canned the project a year later.

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