Connecting on the go will become a little easier now for T-Mobile USA customers. The carrier looks to give Verizon a run for the money for providing anywhere broadband service to mobile computer users. T-Mobile has announced the release of the webConnect Rocket USB Laptop Stick, which is the first HSPA+ device offered by a national carrier in the United States. The webConnect Rocket landed at retail in Philadelphia this past weekend, with a rollout across the country to follow.
With it users can connect their laptops or other PCs to T-Mobile’s HSPA+ network for what the company calls a “home broadband-like experience.” The Rocket is also compatible with T-Mobile’s own nationwide 3G network and Wi-Fi, including T-Mobile HotSpot network locations. The device is available for $99.99 with a two-year contract, plus taxes and fees. The data plans range from $29.99 per month (with 200MB per month, and $0.20/MB overage) to $59.99 per month (with 5GB per month, and $0.20/MB overage) for those with two year contract; and $19.99 per month (with 200MB per month, and $0.20/MB overage) to $49.99 per month (with 5GB per month, and $0.20/MB overage) for those without contract. Additionally, T-Mobile HotSpot access is included in both plans and does not count toward monthly data usage.
These prices seem a tad high, but then again so are many data plans, and as competition heats up we suspect we could see these leveling off. No one ever said anywhere broadband was going to be affordable, and given that WiMAX is still only “coming soon” for most of us, all we can do is plug in the USB dongle and wait for faster, anywhere broadband to finally arrive.
Lenovo Betting on Mobile Web
Mobile surfing could be where the future is at, at least that is what Lenovo CEO Yang Yuanquing is betting on. Last week in an interview with The Associated Press he noted “even today, notebook sales already are higher than desktops. Mobile Internet products are going to be 70 to 80 percent of our sales – with three to five years.”
To this end, his company is already following other laptop makers and looking to the Android operating system to be very important in the future. The company unveiled its first smartphone running Google’s Android OS this year, with plans to release the handset in China this May.
Yang further noted that the majority of Lenovo laptops would run on the mobile Web, possibly with a cross between current 3G and next generation 4G platforms. Users can expect the machines to come with built-in ready 3G, with the ability to easily upgrade to a WiMAX or other 4G technology down the line. So what does this mean? Well, Lenovo could become a big player in the very tight business laptop market, especially if can offer products that undercut Dell or HP. This is a tight business already, so it will interesting to see how this plays out. It also could mean that those devices such as T-Mobile’s webConnect Rocket could see competition where they didn’t expect it!