Sprint (NYSE: S) hosted a surprisingly splashy event tonight at CES complete with comedian Frank Caliendo, food prepared by Chef Mario Batali and guest appearances by Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer and Best Buy’s CEO Brian Dunn. With all of the hoopla, everyone expected a big announcement like a new Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) tablet, or a WiMax phone. The crowd seemed a bit disappointed when Sprint instead unveiled the Overdrive, a Wi-Fi router that connects to the Sprint 3G and 4G network. Still, the device represents the next evolution of WiMax high-speed broadband.
The Overdrive will become available on Jan. 10 and costs $99 with a two-year contract. The monthly contract will run you about $60 for service, and users will be able to connect five Wi-Fi enabled devices at a time. Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse: “2010 is the year of Sprint 4G…If your device has Wi-Fi, Sprint wants you to be free to connect that device anywhere.”
Best Buy’s Dunn said the device will be available in 182 stores and Ballmer was pretty much there to show his enthusiasm for the service, adding that even his son asked for one for Christmas.