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Acer joins Wimax's Open Patent Alliance

Why max?
Mon May 11 2009, 22:50

TAIWANESE COMPUTER MAKER Acer has announced it will sign up to the Wimax promoting patent pool, the Open Patent Alliance (OPA), run by Intel and it's band of merry men.

Set up in June last year and spearheaded by Chipzilla itself, OPA is purportedly some kind of independent third party 'patent referee' meant to speed up the global adoption of Wimax, and counting the likes of Cisco, Clearwire, Samsung Electronics, Sprint Nextel and (now turncoat) Alcatel-Lucent in its ranks.

Acer is apparently the first PC OEM to join Intel's gang, with a company press release promising to promote the hard knocked technology not just with lip service, but also through the incessant churning out of devices and applications able to take advantage of it.

"The OPA is excited to expand the reach of the 4G Wimax ecosystem to include non-traditional companies like Acer" said OPA president, Yung Hahn, barely managing to hold his composure at now having a tier one notebook maker rallying for the cause.

Truth be told, Intel desperately needs more OEMs like Acer to get off the fence and pick a side - preferably Wimax's side - for the technology to finally take off in the mobile broadband sphere, as opposed to languishing as a cheap third world technology gimmick for India's lepers. Snagging Acer, the world's second largest and fastest growing laptop maker in the world, is a decent start.

Intel spokeswoman, Suzy Pruitt, told the INQ the news of Acer's joining OPA was "great" and would "bring a new perspective to the development of IPR (intellectual property rights)."

"We've seen a lot of great WiMAX-enabled products come from the Acer to date, particularly the Aspire and TravelMate lines. The addition to the OPA will help inspire further innovation on the PC device side, and over time, lower costs and offer choice in an open platform environment," she said.

Last week Dell also announced it would be banging out some Wimax upgrade options for many of its notebooks, with the help of Intel's favorite charity, Clearwire.

Meanwhile, focused patent pool administrator, Via Licensing - which already runs patent pools for MPEG2, Wi-Fi and NFC - has piped up and said it wouldn't mind getting stuck in to LTE patent pooling either. In fact, that might just fill the void in the organisation's Thursday afternoon dead spot.

The raggedy bunch of Intel rivals and sworn enemies to this cunning Wimax scheme includes Nokia, Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent, Sony Ericsson, NEC and Ericsson.

Chipzilla and chums are of course doing their upmost to ensure fence-sitters like Qualcomm, Motorola, InterDigital, Nortel, Samsung, Chinese phon(ey) makers and rival chipfirms, go with Wimax rather than LTE, but whether or not that signal has been communicated strongly enough - wirelessly or otherwise - is still uncertain. µ


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