Novatel might be on to something with its MiFi device. It’s basically a rechargeable, portable wireless router that ingests mobile data signals and spits them back out as standard Wi-Fi. The company is calling the technology an “Intelligent Mobile Hotspot,” in case you were longing for some industry jargon.
The idea certainly isn’t new, but this version may very well be the most portable. Initial devices will be good for four hours of active usage or 40 hours of standby time and they’ll be available in the first half of next year, although specific carriers and prices haven’t been mentioned. Also, nobody seems to want to talk about the 5GB data limit imposed by all the major US wireless companies. Seems that if you shared a data connection between enough users, you’d blow through that limit pretty quickly.
Full release after the jump…
Novatel Wireless Drives New Era of Mobile Broadband with Industry First MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot
Ultra Portable Stand-Alone Device Creates a Mobile Wi-Fi Cloud Capable of Connecting Users and Devices
SAN DIEGO – Dec. 9, 2008 – Novatel Wireless Inc., (Nasdaq:NVTL), today unveiled MiFi, an unprecedented line of Intelligent Mobile Hotspots. Together with a rich applications environment for enterprises and consumers, MiFi drives a new ecosystem of broadband connectivity. Unlike existing router solutions that require an external broadband modem and serve only to provide connectivity, Novatel’s MiFi line creates a personal cloud of high-speed Internet connectivity that can be easily shared between multiple users and Wi-Fi devices such as laptops, cameras, gaming devices and multimedia players. Novatel’s MiFi products serve as an intelligent, open platform capable of hosting advanced software applications and flexible enough to address the continued evolution of mobile broadband.
"With the pocket-sized MiFi device, Novatel Wireless has invented a new category of mobile broadband solutions, pushing the envelope in design and performance and ushering in the next era of the mobile broadband experience," said Peter Leparulo, chairman and CEO of Novatel Wireless. "Our carrier partners will now be able to provide new wireless solutions and bundles for consumer and enterprise users. This will contribute to the continued growth of the addressable broadband market and create a unique opportunity for carriers to generate additional revenue per user through the deployment of innovative value-add applications and services."
"Mobile Broadband is evolving and with the large number of WiFi enabled electronic devices coming to market, there is a growing consumer need for Internet-ready devices and applications to stay connected while on the go," said Chris Collins, senior analyst with The Yankee Group Research, Inc.
Next Generation in Mobile Broadband Connectivity
MiFi represents the industry’s first Intelligent Mobile Hotspot, a new category of mobile broadband that lets users put their world of content, services and connectivity in their pocket. Featuring an internal battery providing over forty hours standby and up to four hours of active use on a single charge, the MiFi product line enables users to access high-speed Internet from anywhere there is a cellular connection, including moving vehicles where multiple passengers may need internet access.
Rich Applications Environment
Novatel’s MiFi product line will offer enterprises, SMB and SOHO users a unique solution to secure, control and manage wireless connections. Certain MiFi configurations support applications such as auto VPN, automatic syncing of email and optional remote management capabilities for the enterprise IT manager. Novatel’s MiFi product line offers a robust platform capable of hosting third party applications that extend the reach and control of the enterprise when dealing with remote mobile assets.
With MiFi, consumers can consolidate and personalize their mobile Internet services through a convenient landing page whether they are at home, in the car or on the go. For the operator, the MiFi landing page provides a window to the user to offer additional content and services. MiFi will continue to evolve in order to support applications and services for individuals and families leading a mobile lifestyle.
Unprecedented Ease of Use
Novatel has applied its expertise in human interface engineering to make MiFi the easiest to use broadband device ever. Users are one-click away from their personalized content and services, with no need for installing host applications or hardware drivers as part of the installation process.
Pricing and Availability
The MiFi line of Intelligent Mobile Hotspots will be commercially available in 1H09 through a variety of Novatel Wireless’ global tier-one operator customers and retail channels.