It’s kind of amazing, but sometimes 4G LTE download and upload speeds are faster than your home Internet access. Other times when you need to the web, there’s just no WiFi to be had, and a small mobile screen isn’t going to cut it. That’s what a hotspot is for: think of it like a portable router that can power multiple devices, but uses your cell signal instead of WiFi.
The MiFi Liberate is a new touchscreen hotspot from AT&T. It’s the first touchscreen to come on the market, and the screen gives a quick at-a-glance picture of important stats, like network status and how much battery life you have left. The interface should feel pretty natural for anyone used to navigating a smartphone: the homescreen has icons that are easily tapped for the important details, like how much data you’ve used: .
Battery life is always huge selling point for any kind of mobile device, and this a point where the MiFi shines, promising 11 hours of battery life (enough to outlast a couple of laptops). The battery life is almost twice that of many competitors, thought the device is slightly larger than average, too. It weighs in at 4.3 ounces, with dimensions of 4.1 x 2.9 x 0.9 inches, which still seem perfectly manageable and portable.
Anyone who travels regularly, especially frequent fliers, should consider a Hotspot, as should anyone who just travels to a local Starbucks to get some work done! For many, the promise constant internet access is reassuring, and for others it’s a lifesaver. Either way, it’s worth evaluating if it’s a must-have for your business.
AT&T announced recently that they’re going to be bringing the world’s first touchscreen mobile hotspot device to customers in the US. The global-ready MiFi Liberate is a top of the line 4G LTE hotspot that will bring super fast network speeds to your laptop, tablet or oer mobile device anywhere AT&T provides service.
First up, the touchscreen. The Liberate sports a 2.8″ display that will allow you to quickly and easily access your settings, so yo can change your network name or password on the fly. With a powerful battery that boasts up to 11 hours of life, this device should more than outlast any device you connect to it, and then some. The included MicroSD slot will further allow you to share files with up to 10 connected devices super fast.
The global connectivity is another big big selling point for this device as well. AT&T promises that it will work in more than 200 countries–so no matter where your business takes you, you needn’t worry about being able to work while on the go. Whether you just need to send a few emails or upload some images or video, this device has you covered.
For the mobile professional, few devices offer quite the same value as a good MiFi. While tablets often allow us to get more done on the go, being able to get online with your laptop can often mean the difference between making deadlines and having to wait to finish work when you’re back home or at the office. With a MiFi device, your office is everywhere you are.
We all know about the mobile family plan: everybody shares minutes so that you can take turn being the big spenders and having long chats. Mobile minutes are all well and good, but these days what we really want is data!
Then you can add other devices, including tablets, smartphones and mobile hotspots, for an additional cost per device, but with access to that big chunk of data. You can put up to ten devices on that same amount of data, and the bigger your data plan the less it costs to add another device.
You ever come across an airport or hotel Wifi hotspot but absolutely refuse to agree to the “they want me to pay what” daily access rates? I’m pretty sure we all have. But there may be times when you just can’t afford not to sign up and pay for access for just a couple of minutes, especially if it means missing an important conference call. Sure, you could just use your phone’s wireless minutes but oh, wait, you’re roaming.
The Skype Wifi app for iPhone and iPad lets you tap into over 1 million hotspots worldwide and make Skype VoIP calls using only your Skype credit. Read More
The iPad 2 offers a 3G version that lets you tackle any web/network task without being dependent on an external wireless network or hotspot connection. Anywhere you can receive a 3G signal, your 3G iPad 2 will connect.
So if you’re mulling over which version of the iPad 2 to get: WiFi or WiFi + 3G, while you constantly call your local Apple retailer to check their stock (let me answer that for you…they don’t have any), allow me to give you a tip if you own an iPhone 4 with iOS 4.3 installed – use your iPhone 4 as a wireless hotspot for your iPad 2.
Features-wise, this was a downgrade for me because I currently own (and plan to sell) a 32GB 3G iPad with a data plan. At any time, I could whip out my iPad “Classic” and locate my exact location via the Maps app, and get directions (no voice navigation) to anywhere. Out of the box, my new iPad 2 can’t do this due to the lack of GPS in the wifi-only version that is inherit in the radio of its 3G counterpart.
On the other hand, with the recent release of the Verizon iPhone 4 and the iOS 4.3 upgrade for AT&T version, any user that opts-in for the feature can use their phone as a wifi hotspot for the iPad 2. As a result, it has been discovered by Cult of Mac that if tethered to an iPhone 4 with the hotspot feature, a non-3G iPad 2 can “borrow” the GPS signal from the phone for location information. According to Cult of Mac, it hasn’t been tested on wifi-only iPad Classics, but in theory, it is a possibility.
In the video below is a brief demo of the wifi-only iPad 2 GPS trick in action:
I have been using the hotspot feature for my MacBook Pro, iPad Classic and my iPad 2 and it’s pretty fast. With the added zip of the dual-core A4 processor housed in the iPad 2, my guess is that the wifi-only GPS hotspot trick works pretty well, even if it may not be in real-time.
So if you’re like me and was of the suckers advocates who went out and bought an iPad 2 this past weekend, you will be in for a free GPS treat if you plan to use your iPhone 4 as a hotspot if you didn’t pony up for an 3G iPad 2.
Test it out, come back, and drop a line in the comments section to let us know how the feature works.
It won’t be long before AT&T iPhone users are somewhat right back on the same level with Verizon Wireless iPhone users with the upcoming OS upgrade to the latest iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. Within the upgrade to OS 4.3, it has been confirmed by AT&T brass that its iPhone 4 will also get the mobile hotspot feature that will enable up to 5 devices to utilize the iPhone’s wireless signal to get online, check email, etc.
AT&T spokesperson Seth Bloom stated “To utilize this feature, customers will need to subscribe to the DataPro 4GB/$45 tethering data plan.”
I currently use the VZW iPhone and the mobile hotspot feature definitely comes in handy when I need to access my laptop to send an invoice or any other business document that’s not in the cloud. Another added bonus is it cuts down on amount of gadgets if you use BOTH an iPhone AND a seperate MiFi device. But be warned, your battery life will suffer, so make sure you are plugged in if you are using the hotspot feature for an extended amount of time. If the AT&T version is similar in functionality, it will be a very well-received feature for AT&T customers as well.
Whether you praise AT&T for its fast 3G, or praise VZW for its reliable 3G, one thing you can now say about both in regards to their iPhone versions is that both can now (legitimately) share the internet connection; something that I my opinion will be a standard feature on all smartphones within the next year.