This is part 2 of my column on gadgets that changed the world for me. These aren't necessarily gadgets that changed the world, not even the gadget world. But they all had a profound impact on my life, and were more important to me than simple technological tools or joyous little toys.
"You snooze, you lose" may not be the most eloquent way of putting it, but Sprint CEO Dan Hesse knows that the longer it takes to get customers onto shiny devices like the EVO 4G, the more chance his carrier rivals have to overtake him in high-speed mobile networks. T-Mobile USA has just announced that their HSPA+ network is now the most pervasive in the country, currently covering more than 85m people and on track, the carrier promises, to offer HSPA+ to over 185m people by the end of 2010.
Nokia has announced that it has sold its modem business to Renesas Electronics. The two companies will also form a strategic alliance for the continued development of modem technology. Renesas will acquire Nokia's HSPA, GSM and LTE modem business.
US WiMAX provider Clearwire has outed its latest 4G modems and personal wireless hotspots, promising broadband-like speeds in areas with suitable 4G service. The new CLEAR 4G and CLEAR 4G+ personal WiFi hotspots (the latter being a rebadge of the Sprint Overdrive) each pull in a WiMAX signal and share it with up to eight nearby devices (the 4G+ also works with 3G connections). Meanwhile there's a new dual-mode 3G/4G USB modem for Mac and Windows users.
Will flexible data contracts like Apple have negotiated for the iPad - and Spring Design are planning for their Alex ereader - drive adoption of integrated 3G/4G data connections rather than external modems? That's certainly one interpretation of DigiTime's latest statistics; they're quoting industry sources who reckon global sales of built-in 3G modules will exceed sales of external data cards by 2012.
The only WiMax installations in America are from Sprint and Clearwire. The two firms have 4G WiMax in place in some of the large cities around the country and are looking to have more cities online this year and next year. Most companies in the US are betting on LTE rather than WiMax, but WiMax is here now even if it is very limited availability.
The iPad still not cheap enough for you? For our Austrian-based readers, Hutchison has plans to offer a discount on the Apple tablet wireless version, if they don’t mind the commitment to a 2-year, €29.90/month 5GB data contract. How much will they take off? €333, or roughly a hefty $445 discount.
Sprint's latest Motorola WiMAX 4G modem quietly went on sale over the weekend, and while it's not exactly mobile-warrior friendly in size, it does offer a whole lot more than your regular USB dongle. The Sprint 4G Desktop Modem CPEi25150 by Motorola squeezes in high gain dual-antennas as well as an ethernet port rather than a USB port, which means it's straightforward to hook it up to your existing WiFi router.
That of course means there's no onboard WiFi, which seems a little short-sighted as Sprint are pushing the CPEi25150 as mobile solution. If you're in one of the 27 areas where the carrier currently has a 4G WiMAX network in operation, you could be getting 10x the speed of a regular 3G connection.
The Sprint 4G Desktop Modem CPEi25150 by Motorola is available to order now for both home and business users, priced at $99.99 after a $150 mail-in rebate. That's presuming you take out a new two-year Sprint 4G agreement, which will cost you $49.99 per month.