If you've been following our coverage of Motorola's Xoom tablet and watched our "Motorola Xoom: 5 Killer Features, 5 Frustrating Faux Pas" video, then you know that one of our biggest gripes is that there is no Wi-Fi only version available for sale. To jump on the Xoom bandwagon, you have a buy a 3G ticket, as well as pay for a month of service up front. What's an enthusiast to do who has no need for 3G? Wait a couple of weeks.
While the Apple faithful made sure Apple's iPad 2 launch was a success, you sat at home thinking, "Big whoop, it's an iOS device. I'm holding out for the Wi-Fi Xoom!" That's not a bad plan, assuming you're willing to pony up $600 for a superior spec'd Android tablet, and while it was initially looking like you'd have to wait until April, new information suggests you might be able to snag one by the end of March.
We aren’t sure why so many Android tablets have tied their fates to the contract crazy wireless carriers, but clearly it’s a strategy that’s done little more than allow the iPad to continue eating their lunch. Android tablet makers should be under no illusion, the real promise of Google’s tablet OS lies in devices with more functionality, at a lower cost.
Apparently Samsung finally clued into this reality, and according to Droid Life, is getting ready to release a Wi-Fi only version of the Galaxy Tab on April 4th for a very reasonable $399.
More and more fliers are joining the mile high Wi-Fi club, which isn't nearly as fun as that other club you can join from 5,280 feet or higher, but at least it won't get you in trouble with security personnel. Aircell's Gogo Inflight Internet service rules the skies, but rather than stand pat, Aircell has big plans for the future, including a next generation version of ATG (Air-to-Ground) known as ATG-4, and Ka-band satellite technology.
Turns out Nintendo's upcoming 3DS handheld console has a few more tricks up its sleeve. In addition to a 3D display -- the 3DS's flagship feature -- Nintendo announced two upcoming collaborations, one with AT&T that will allow the 3DS to automatically connect to more than 10,000 AT&T Wi-Fi hotspots, and another with Netflix to stream movies and other content on the gaming device. Suddenly the 3DS looks a lot more appealing.
After weeks of speculation and rumor, we finally have an official Motorola Xoom price. According to Reuters, Motorola CEO Sanjay Jha has confirmed at Mobile World Congress that the Xoom would be priced at $799 for the 3G version on Verizon (no subsidy), and only $600 for the Wi-Fi only tablet. It's not a low as we might have hoped, but at least that $1200 Best Buy price turned out to be just a placeholder.
Maybe we should call this the era of mobility, because when we look back, we'll remember this time period as when cell phones transformed into smartphones (and superphones), tablet computing debuted without falling on its face, and handheld devices of all kinds boasted high-speed Internet connectivity. The mobile device market is a big one, and Atheros wants to make sure it's being served with the same attention as the desktop. Atheros, which specializes in wireless chipsets, plans to do that by introducing two new "groundbreaking" Wi-Fi solutions for mobile gadgets.
Just when you thought you were on top of things by ripping out your old networking gear and replacing it all with 802.11n compliant devices, a new standard is on the horizon. It's called 802.11ac and it's a new Wi-Fi technology that promises 1Gbps speeds. According to In-Stat, 802.11ac will roll out next year, and by 2015 will dominate the market with nearly 1 billion 802.11ac-enabled devices.
Internet users are growing bolder by the year. In 2008, a poll revealed that 18 percent of respondants admitted to, um, "borrowing" someone else's Wi-Fi. And now? That number has jumped to 32 percent, according to a recent survey conducted by Wakefield Research in conjunction with the Wi-Fi Alliance. With an estimated 201 million households using Wi-Fi, it's easy to see why wireless security is more important than ever.
AT&T caused quite a ruckus when they switched from unlimited data plans to a 2GB cap last summer. The nation's second largest carrier has shied away from adding Wi-Fi hotspot to its devices, so users were less likely to run out of bits. But now, the upcoming Inspire 4G will ship with AT&T's hotspot app installed. Customers won't have to worry about sharing those measly 2GB between all devices. Those that subscribe to the tethering plan will get an additional bucket of 2GB for a total of 4GB.
Users will first have to have the $25 Data Pro plan for 2GB of data, then add the tethering plan for an additional 2GB. So you're paying $45 each month for 4GB of data that you can share with the Wi-Fi hotspot. This is far from an ideal scenario. We would have liked to see tethering included and a higher cap to start with. Still, for those that need the hotspot functionality, the extra data will offer some breathing room.