CTIA Sprint has confirmed that the name of its new broadband wireless service is not a typo. But it also admits that XOHM means absolutely nothing.
Speaking yesterday at CTIA Wireless I.T. and Entertainment, a mammoth mobile-centric tradeshow, Sprint bigwig Atish Gude said the company chose the XOHM name because a marketing company told it to.
"We contracted with a company to come up with a very cool, cutting-edge name that really reflects what we're trying to do - which is mobilize the internet," said Gude, senior vice president of mobile broadband operations for Sprint's XOHM business unit. XOHM is set to debut in April, bringing WiMAX broadband to major American cities before spreading across the country.
How, exactly, does the name reflect what Sprint is trying to do? Well, Gude calls it "an empty vessel...We can make it out to be whatever we want."
Then he gave two examples. One Sprint employee told XOHM president Barry West would mean a great deal to anyone who knows their physics. "He said it was really about 'ohm,' the unit of resistance, and 'X,' which means 'no,'" Gude explained. "So 'No resistance.'"
But that's not the one Gude likes the best. Another Sprint employee asked the Britain-born West if XOHM was a secret message to the Queen of England. "XO and HM," Gude said. "Love and kisses to Her Majesty."
Gude also took the opportunity to reiterate that XOHM will open up its regent-loving wireless network to developers across the industry. "We are very, very serious about opening up the platform," he said. "We've seen the sort of innovation that's happened on the Internet, and we - XOHM - are the only wireless carrier that's taken that to heart."
He envisions a network that reaches not only handhelds, laptops, and PCs, but also consumer electronics devices, like digital cameras and DVD players. "This is our key differentiator," Gude said. "I don't believe that all of these consumer electronics will show up [on the network] next year, but they will show up as we continue to move forward."
A cafe just down the street from the El Reg San Francisco bureau offers a machine where we you can test drive the XOHM network. Thanks to Broadband Reports.com, we can tell you that download speeds are about 649Kbps and upload speeds hit roughly 550Kbps. In other words, good but not great. ®