Sprint Nextel Corp hopes win new customers using devices other than cellphones with new wirelessly-connected gadgets coming on the market starting later this year, an executive for the company said on Wednesday.

Danny Bowman, the head of Sprint's integrated solutions group said he is working with partners to add embedded wireless connections for business specific applications such as health products, as well as for consumer devices.

On the consumer side he expects his company to connect a wide range of devices in the next year including tablet computers, gaming devices, e-readers and picture frames.

The ramp up will start with a handful of devices in time for the year-end holiday shopping season, Bowman said.

Sprint will have a great portfolio in the second half the year, the executive told Reuters in an interview.

Bowman said he expects the consumer and business markets for wirelessly connected devices to be roughly equal in size but did not give revenue or unit volume estimate for the markets.

The executive, whose division also sends consultants to help businesses improve indoor wireless coverage, said that about 850 of Sprint's roughly 40,000 workforce had come under his umbrella since he set the unit in October.

Sprint, which has been working for years stem phone customer losses, is following the footsteps of bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc, in pursuing new growth segments as most of the U.S. population already has cellphones.

Verizon wireless is a venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group Plc.

(Reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)