Lenovo and Cingular Wireless today announced plans to integrate wireless wide area network (WWAN) technology from Cingular in upcoming versions of ThinkPad notebooks. ThinkPad users will have built-in, immediate high-speed Internet access via the Cingular BroadbandConnect service without needing a separate PC card or additional hardware.
Through this agreement, ThinkPad notebooks will be preconfigured for BroadbandConnect, which delivers average mobile data connections between 400- 700Kbps (kilobits per second) on the downlink and bursts to more than a megabit per second using Cingular's third-generation (3G) network based on UMTS/HSDPA technology. With Cingular BroadbandConnect services, users can connect anywhere they receive Cingular Wireless data service and will no longer need to be centrally located near wireless hubs, or WiFi "hot spots," an ideal situation for mobile and small business professionals who are on the go and often located in areas where WiFi hot spots are not readily available.
Cingular-enabled ThinkPad notebooks are expected to be available beginning in the second quarter of this year.
Cingular's 3G network infrastructure is based on Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) technology, a global standard for 3G wireless services that are already offered by 95 commercial networks in 45 countries, with an additional 67 UMTS networks in deployment, planned or licensed.
In the U.S., Cingular BroadbandConnect currently is available in 52 communities, with a commitment to extend the service to most major markets by the end of this year. In areas where UMTS/HSDPA is not available, ThinkPad owners will be able to use their notebooks seamlessly on Cingular's EDGE service, the largest national wireless data network in the U.S. with availability in 13,000 cities and towns at typical speeds of 70-135Kbps. ThinkPad users also will have wireless access abroad in more than 90 countries where Cingular has data roaming agreements.
ThinkPad notebooks with integrated WWAN capabilities will enable IT departments to ensure consistent hardware compatibility across their users and with the internal, embedded module the ThinkPad casing provides the higher level of protection to reduce the risk of damage during transit. They can also expect less hardware to troubleshoot and replace as well as improved data security for employees who frequently travel.