Don't count on forthcoming Atom-powered Eee PCs to help popularize WiMAX. According to DigiTimes, Asus has gone back on its promise of integrating the wireless standard into its Eee PC 901 sub-notebook. Instead, the company will make WiMAX available only as an option for "contract customers."
DigiTimes says Asus mulled over its decision for two quarters but eventually decided that the WiMAX market "will not reach maturity in 2008." Nonetheless, Asus plans to push WiMAX in its pricier 14.1" and 15.4" notebooks in the United States. Those notebooks will reportedly include new VX2, U6, and V1 models, which are all scheduled to appear before the end of the year.
Fittingly, these WiMAX-powered notebooks may roll out as the merger between Clearwire's and Sprint Nextel's wireless broadband units closes in the fourth quarter. As we reported earlier this month, the merger will see a new Clearwire emerge that will focus on developing a WiMAX network in the U.S..