Monday, November 20, 2006

UMPC gets 3G, sorta

With all the PCMCIA-less UMPC floating around the marketplace it was somewhat inevitable that the big Telcos would come to the party and provide a USB solution. So far we have seen a various USB to PCMCIA cards of which most rate very poorly, here is a list of a few a friend of mine found:

If that's not enough how about pairing your phone, and using it as a modem?

It seems the frutopia we're all looking for still alludes - or does it? Now some of you may have seen this but, as usual, I'm keen know your thoughts. Vodafone Australia has released a USB 3G Modem!!! No longer do we need to buy a PCMCIA modem, and a futile USB adapter. Now we have an all-in-one solution from one of the world's biggest providers. I know James Kendrick follows these developments very closely so I'm interested if James has something equivalent in the US of A??? Maybe my man Chippy can tell us about it in Europe?

Here are the details of the Aussie aproved card:

Technical specifications

  • 3G broadband with a maximum download rate of 3.6Mbps and upload rate of 384kbps
  • 3G with a maximum download rate of 384kbps and upload rate of 128kbps
  • GPRS with a maximum download rate of 49kbps
  • 3G broadband/3G 2100MHz
  • GPRS 900/1800/1900MHz
  • Internal antenna
  • Weight <>
  • Dimensions 89 mm (D) x 43 mm (W) x 14.5mm (H)

System requirements
PC User

  • A PC with Windows 2000 or Windows XP
  • 1 x USB port. USB 2.0 recommended
  • At least 100Mb free disk space and 128Mb RAM Apple Mac

PowerBook G4

  • Mac OS X 10.2.6 or higher
  • Mac OS X 10.4.3 recommended
  • 1 x USB port. USB 2.0 recommended

So, is the future in a dongle transferable from device to device? Or is everyone swaying to embedded sim card slots in our Mobile pcs? Maybe this is good enough, if not better??? Over to you.


Chippy said...

Very interesting indeed.
I assume you buy the device with a data plan and the SIM card is embedded?
I've been looking for solutions like this and if its low-power, it could be really nice.

I think we're going to see most manufacturers embedd the modem though as it means they can start to sell devices through cellular carrier channels. Big numbers!

In fact, If this model works out, there's a challenge for VARs. 3G broadband capable notebooks and UMPCs will be available quickly and cheaply though carriers.


James Kendrick said...

In the US we have two EV-DO USB modems, one from Sprint:

and one from Franklin:

There is also a HSDPA modem from Samsung due out next year:

Kelvin Yong said...

We have Vodem in NZ (Vodafone Modem) which is advertised as 3G Broadband device. Check out Mauricio's review on Vodem.

I am planning to get a Vodem when I receive my UMPC, it is truly plug and play, with the driver and software already comes in flash memory in the unit. It is supporting MacOS X (non-Intel) via CD, and the latest MacOS X (Intel) driver/software is available to download too, apparently.

Javier said...

In Spain, we have with Vodafone
modem USB 3G

An option also with both data and voice (all mobile)

You can see the TV commercial here:


Javier G.

Kelvin Yong said...

In NZ you can get CDMA EVDO USB Device (MiniMax), it is mentioned in this blog/review

Gabriel Gonzalez said...

I like the idea of the USB dongle so you can "go mobile" with it ;)

shy said...

Looks like Maxon will have their HSDPA minimax usb modem ready for the Australian market on 6th December. Looks interesting!

Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your feedback. The reason I put it out there was because I haven't been following the USB modem scene closely and wasn't sure where it was up to globally.

I'm excited about the advent of these sort of modems given that most of us own one, maybe three, computers each. With the USB modem it sounds as though we can be more versatile.

I use my phone as a modem and it allows me to connect from any device. I still find this a preferencial method for my travelling connectivity - you see, I carry aphone anyway, and the last thing I need is another USB device to "have to" carry around.

Kelvin Yong said...

For my situation, I share my data connection with my partner, so tying data connection account to phone won't work for us. Beside I have a 24 months term contract on 1GB for $49/month when I got my Vodafone VMC UMTS card. With Vodem, at least I can continue using my 1GB/$49 SIM when I'm out about, and pass it on to my partner when needed. Then I keep my phone for my personal use etc.

That's what sharing is all about. *LOL*

Hugo Ortega said...

Thanks for that Kelvin - what interests me about your comment is the 1Gig plan at $49, sounds awefully cheap...well done.

Thanks for sharing your sharing tale.

Mark said...

I've got the Elan U132 USB to PCMCIA adapter for 3g cards.

It works flawlessly here in the US with various Verizon cards and a Samsung Q1. My company is switching to Sprint for 3g connectivity so I'll get to try it on the Sprint network in the next month or two.

The adapter is a bit bulky but I just leave it in my bag and run the cord up to the Q1. It's plenty fast enough to stream from a Slingbox and really, what else do you need besides that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

That's fantastic feedback. Can you also post your results here regarding the Sprint card as I can see this thread turning into quite a resource!

You guys Rock!

Trevor Irwin said...

Hi All,

USB modems are well and good BUT I need to see an inbuilt unit in the UMPC before I could consider purchasing any for my team. We run about 500 PDAs and would love to have the UMPC with its larger screen and processing power however unless it comes with a built in way to communicate it is useless to me. If ANYONE knows of a device (I recently saw a Sumsung SPH9000 (or something like that) but the screen is only 5 inches) that has a 7 inch screen AND a built in GPRS or EVDO or 3G connectivity then please let me know.

Many thanks,


Hugo Ortega said...

Hi Trevor,

I think you're right and what's coming down the pipeline is all looking at addressing the connectivity issue. We all want on the go "live" connectivity and at the moment there is very little "Ultra-Mobile" about the Ultra-Mobile PC, other than size.

Stay tuned for the Samsung Q1B and the Fujitsu P1610, both looking at being online enabled out of the box.

What country are you in? Different countries will offer different solutions.

Adi said...

Thank you for shared it.
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