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Compaq, Lucent look to wireless future

The companies are working together to ensure Compaq products can use the next generation of wireless telephone network equipment that Lucent makes.

Compaq Computer's EVO notebooks and IPAQ Pocket PCs are getting ready for the next generation of phone networks that can download information 10 times faster than now possible.

The company said Monday it's working with Lucent Technologies to ensure the products can use the next generation of wireless telephone network equipment that Lucent makes. Compaq expects to work with additional phone equipment makers in the future.

"Wireless is a huge push for Compaq," said Matthew Wagner, Compaq product marketing manager. "We believe it's the right end game for the industry to be shooting for."

Most carriers, including Sprint and Verizon Wireless, expect to launch these faster wireless networks in two years. NTT DoCoMo in Japan is the only carrier in the world to offer such a high-speed wireless service right now.

Carriers around the world are building these new networks to keep pace with the growing number of cell phone customers. The networks double the number of cell phone calls that can be made at any one time. But whether they help to solve another problem facing wireless carriers--the many areas where cell phone coverage isn't available--depends on how quickly national networks can be built.

Wagner wouldn't provide dates for release of products from Monday's announcement, saying it depends upon when carriers launch these new wireless networks. But he said the first targets would be the legal professionals, real estate agents or businesspeople who travel frequently.

The Monday announcement also shows that Compaq is also playing both sides of the wireless standards battle. The Compaq devices are being readied to work with the next generations of cell phone standards: CDMA (code division multiple access) and GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications).

GSM powers about 70 percent of the world's telephone networks, including the networks of AT&T Wireless and Cingular Wireless. About 20 percent of the world's telephone networks, including Verizon and Sprint, use CDMA.