Clearwire promises Clear-branded HTC and Samsung WiMAX phones this year

Without going into much detail, Clearwire mentioned on its first quarter earnings call today that WiMAX-capable phones bearing the Clear name from both Samsung and HTC are "expected" to be available before 2010's out, which is a pretty optimistic affirmation of comments the company made earlier this year. It describes the Sammy as "an Android-based 3G/4G/WiFi device optimized for heavy video and video communications use," while the HTC's language leaves out the platform -- it's just called "a 3G/4G/WiFi enabled phone," leading us to believe that this puppy could very well be running Windows Phone 7. If that's the case, we can understand why HTC wouldn't want Clearwire spilling the beans since they've yet to officially announce any plans for jumping into the WinPho 7 game. In fact, Clearwire went so far as to say on the call that the HTC device would not be the EVO 4G, so yeah, we can totally buy that there's some Microsoft action going on behind the scenes here.

As for Clearwire's health, it has seen a 94 percent year-over-year boost in total WiMAX subscribers for a total just shy of a million -- and interestingly, the overwhelming majority of those are retail, not wholesale, meaning that folks are running Clear-branded equipment. We expect that to change dramatically once Sprint's Overdrive gets a little more penetration and the EVO comes into play, but for now, some 814,000 customers are familiar with the Clear logo. They lost a hair over $94 million in the quarter, but hey, in the scheme of things, that's peanuts -- building out networks isn't a cheap endeavor, after all.