Eric Zeman pieced together some CES 2010 meeting requests and deduced that Sprint could be introducing an LG handset that runs Windows Mobile and supports WiMAX. Eric’s a bright cookie and has his pulse on the phone market, so I’m inclined to agree with him. Last year Sprint had a big CES splash with the introduction of Palm’s Pre, and the carrier needs something big for this year’s show. It all makes sense to me — a capable smartphone that supports Sprint’s investment in Clearwire and the national 4G network. Such a phone would surely use 3G when outside of the 4G coverage area, just like the new hybrid USB adapter that Sprint is offering. Hopefully, a plan for this smartphone offers unlimited 4G usage to supplement the 5 GB cap on the 3G network. Even better would be the ability to tether the phone for use as a WiMAX modem — Windows Mobile supports such functionality, but carriers sometimes remove it.
The funny thing is — a Windows Mobile phone from LG that supports WiMAX was seen at last year’s Consumer Electronics Show. That particular model supported seamless transition between GSM and WiMAX networks, but LG stated that there’s no reason CDMA couldn’t be substituted for GSM. This actually lends even more credence to Eric’s thoughts — WiMAX is available in many more markets this year, so the timing is far better for such a device in 2010 than it was in 2009. The lack of coverage for WiMAX this year earned it a negative spot on our GigaOM Pro Mobile Winners and Losers (subscription required) but perhaps that changes next year. While a WiMAX phone might offer cutting-edge wireless technology, it’s sure to only run an older-feeling Windows Mobile 6.5 — the next release of Microsoft’s mobile platform, version 7, isn’t due out until the second half of 2010, which could spell trouble.