Sprint's partnership with WiMax provider ClearWire looks to be bearing some hardware fruit, with the release of the first dongle to combine 3G cellular and 4G capabilities.
The modem, called the U300, will be first available to customers of the Sprint/Clearwire "Clear" WiMax network in Baltimore, where their pilot program is under way. The connections will be managed automatically, much in the manner that 3G/2G phones handle them; the modem will connect to the faster WiMax by default, but will switch to the slower EVDO cell network when it's out of range or too weak.
If these work well, they could be a boon to both Sprint and WiMax in general, as the of the appeal admittedly significant speed gain of WiMax over EVDO is dampered by the need to purchase and carry around an extra adapter. Speaking of compromise—the added convenience of the U300 doesn't quite justify its $150 with-contract price. The adapter should ship by the beginning of next week. [Yahoo]