I'll admit, I'm a gadget guy, and the kind of person who just has to have the latest and greatest, then push the limits of it to the nth degree immediately upon purchase. I did that once with my Nissan 300zx back in 1995 when I bought my Z, getting to the 350 mile mark in one weekend, then taking it to the wide open highways near Banning and Palm Desert and letting the engine and turbo chargers do their thing.
Yesterday I went to the Verizon Wireless store and bought one of the new Novatel Wireless' MiFi mobile hotspot in your pocket devices that delivers broadband everywhere you go. Before I even left the store (and after a fast installation and activation, as well as update to Verizon's new Broadband Access 7.0 software on my Asus EEE PC 1008HA) I was up and running and making phone calls. That's right. I did a fast test right inside the Verizon Wireless store and used a T-Mobile UMA based Blackberry Curve to call first my Google Voice account, then to call a friend. Both calls sounded great.
Since Helene's flight to San Diego was delayed by heavy fog and overcast skies, I used the extra time to try out the device as I sat in the Cell Phone waiting lot by Lindbergh Field and made a few more calls. Before trying any of the calls I disabled the mobile network connectivity to T-Mobile, latched on to the hotspot and saw the WiFi and UMA indicators light up. Calls. Email, IM's and even Blackberry messenger all worked fine.
Once I got home I made a few Truphone and Skype calls using my Apple iPhone and iPod touch. All worked but had variable results, making me think that location and where you are in relation to the cell tower, how much traffic is going on at that time on the data network will have impact. One call was great, the next choppy. Still though, for $59.99 having an alternative way to call with an iPod Touch and Truphone's unlimited calling as a way to listen in on Conference Calls or via Skype to do the same and be on the beach without a cell phone is a pretty neat trick.
I'll be putting the MiFi through it's paces today with my Nokia E71 and will update my first day's experience then, but for now this is an amazing device to have if you need to share Internet access with up to 5 people. It runs on battery power, can be recharged via USB from a PC and easily fits in your pocket. Sprint is also releasing a similar unit this week.