Sprint, T-Mobile plan tablets for faux 4G networks

Wireless carriers offer scant details of product specs, release schedule

Sometime next year -- who knows when -- consumers presumably will be able to buy tablet computers from Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA running unspecified operating systems that will be able to connect with each carrier's not-quite-4G (but called 4G by them) wireless networks. The tablets will be manufactured by...well, neither Sprint nor T-Mobile would say.

Maybe the devil is on the details, but that doesn't mean the excitement has to be!

(Also see: In the spirit of 4G!)

Sprint president of business markets Paget Alves told Forbes would begin selling a 4G tablet in 2011. Sprint currently sells Samsung's 7-inch Galaxy Tab (as do other carriers), which runs on Google's Android 2.2 mobile OS, but Alves didn't say if the 4G tablet would run on Android or something else.

Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal reports that T-Mobile USA has similar (and similarly vague) plans:

"T-Mobile will continue to be at the forefront of wireless innovation, delivering an aggressive 4G product lineup in 2011, including 4G tablets," said T-Mobile spokesman Tom Harlin.

For those who would like an actual 4G network to go with that 4G tablet, you'll have to wait. Even though T-Mobile has been running around calling its network 4G, the facts appear to be otherwise. Faster, maybe; 4G, not quite.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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