Wind Mobile’s product line may soon be a lot more appealing to businesses and consumers alike.
Wind is close to announcing support for Research In Motion’s Playbook tablet and several new Google Android devices, Wind chairman Anthony Lacavera says. I chatted with Lacavera at a Wind event in downtown Toronto, where the company was announcing its BestConversationEver.ca contest and charity donations.
The products would be a boon for Wind as they are grappling with competition not only from incumbents, but also other new entrants such as Mobilicity and Public Mobile. It may also signal a shift for Wind to start marketing its national network to businesses, in addition to consumers. They Playbook alone is being branded by RIM as “the business tablet that everyone can use.” Google’s Android isn’t exactly recognized as a business phone like the BlackBerry, but its professional reputation is slowly building.
There have been no official announcements from RIM or any Canadian carrier as of yet about the Playbook’s network support north of the border. At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this month, Sprint announced it would provide 4G network support to the Playbook in March.
Wind has been limited in its handset offerings due to the wireless spectrum it purchased in the Industry Canada 2008 auction. Its Advanced Wireless Spectrum (AWS) isn’t on the same band as incumbent carriers such as Rogers, Telus, and Bell. But it has gained some more support amongst manufacturers since 2008, including smartphones made by HTC and RIM.
Currently, Wind’s top smartphones are the aging BlackBerry Bold 9780 and the Motorola XT720. Unfortunately, the XT720 is stuck on Android version 2.1 and Motorola won’t be releasing upgrades to newer versions of Android 2.2 (Froyo) or 2.3 (Gingerbread). So new Android devices will help Wind stave off a smartphone lineup that feels stale.
If Wind does announce the tablet, as Lacavera indicates, it will be the first new wireless entrant to offer tablet support.