Sprint plans 'industry first' event in February

Speculation is on iPhone or WebOS device, or maybe Windows Phone 7 on Wimax

Sprint Nextel on Wednesday sent out official invitations to a Feb. 7 wireless showcase event in New York promising an "industry first."

Rumors at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas indicated the big news could be a CDMA- or WiMax-ready iPhone from Sprint or perhaps a joint announcement with Hewlett Packard of a WebOS tablet or smartphone. Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates told Computerworld at CES that the timing of an early February HP announcement could coincide with news from Sprint.

Master illusionist David Blaine will be part of the evening event; the invitation says Sprint and Blaine will "show you that the impossible is possible."

Tech site Engadget speculated, slightly sarcastically, that the reference to doing the impossible could refer to the Epic 4G smartphone getting Froyo, also known as Android 2.2, something that has been a persistent concern for Epic users. Actually, an over-the-air update for device began in December.

At a dinner at CES, Sprint showed off wireless devices for monitoring trucks in truck fleets and for monitoring a person's heart rate via Bluetooth to a smartphone. The Research in Motion Playbook and a coming Windows Phone 7 (WP7) device, still unnamed, were described. The WP7 phone could be running WiMax, some speculated, which would indeed constitute an industry first.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com.

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