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Samsung unveils next gen hybrid gadget

A South Korean model poses with Samsung's SPH-P9000 Deluxe MITs (Mobile Intelligent Terminal), the world's first WiMax device. Photo: AP

Samsung Electronics Co. has showed off a three-way gadget that's a phone, personal computer and music player tailored for an emerging wireless broadband technology.

The Mobile Intelligent Terminal was unveiled at a Samsung-sponsored industry conference on Mobile WiMax on Tuesday, which is just coming into use and promises fast broadband connections over long distances.

The device weighs about 2kg and contains a fold-out keyboard, 13cm-wide screen and 30 gigabyte hard drive. It runs the full version of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows XP operating system and also supports the CDMA mobile phone communications standard, which is used in South Korea and other countries.

Kim Hun-bae, Samsung vice president for mobile research and development, told reporters that the gadget is the world's first WiMax device that also works as a mobile phone. It also can access the internet, make video phone calls and display television as well as other video.

The Suwon, South Korea-based company said it plans to launch the device in South Korea during the first half of 2007. Samsung didn't mention any plans for marketing the device in the US and other markets. It also didn't provide a price. WiMax has been strongly backed by Samsung, which is cooperating with U.S. companies Intel Corp, Sprint Nextel Corp. and Motorola Inc. to commercialise it in the United States.

South Korea is the first country to commercialize WiMax, which promises fast wireless broadband connections and mobile roaming. Limited trials of Mobile WiMax are under way in South Korea, with plans to cover the capital, Seoul, by early next year.

Samsung is confident WiMax technology will soon become a global standard, a top executive said Tuesday.

"We have established a standard in (South) Korea, but it won't take long to spread throughout the world," Lee Ki-tae, president of Samsung's telecommunication network business, told reporters.