AT&T is touting how they are bringing more public hotspots to New York and San Francisco to help with what is called Wi-Fi offload for connected devices, like the iPhone and iPad. ClearWire has lit up San Francisco officially,
What does this mean.
For folks with iPads and the 5th generation iPod touch with only Wi-Fi more places to do things like uploading photos. This is very common over in London where BT OpenZone's and my Boingo Mobile Account let me log on without the need for 3G. That said, my 3G MiFi and the iPod touch help eliminate the need for an iPhone to do FaceTime so if you're not inclined to want Internet access all the time or don't mind carrying an extra small device then a MiFi or OverDrive capable of 4G plus the non-contract Wi-Fi only iPad or iPod touch is for you. But lets look at what this means for those with the devices that natively connect.
1. The Sprint EVO-I've been looking at this as a slick iPhone replacement. More and more slick looking iPhone competitors are coming, mostly with Android as the OS. The move by AT&T is defensive to keep their iPhone loving customers with them, and also to fend off the Apple incursion/insurrection that really is being led by Verizon Wireless that started with the iPad and MiFis.
2. ClearWire-they have the network, but their device plans remain obscured. You have to look at Sprint's plans for devices to get any sort of idea. On the otherhand, an Overdrive from Sprint and any device that works on Wi-Fi, is a rocking best deal, especially if you work in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento on a regular basis. My only caveat with the Overdrive is how it overheats sometimes, and there's no real solution other than having it sit on it's side.
3. LTE from Verizon. It's really a beta and while I fully expect all of VZW's news out of Las Vegas to be LTE, LTE, LTE and what it means, the devices today that get you hooked up don't work on Macs (no software yet from Smith Micro, the company that writes that for VZW) and the devices themselves are very early. The dongles/USB sticks are mutil-radio, not one single chip like device. In essence to work on both LTE and CDMA Rev A. the device has to switch radios inside itself. They are also big and bulky. In a nutshell, not very Applesque. My feeling is waiting for LTE Generation 2 devices is going to be a far less painful experience for early adopters unless your an early adopting Windows OS user.
The above said, getting connected, at faster speeds is going to get easier. You just have to have the right accounts. Over in Europe when you buy a 3G plan you get hotspots tossed in for free or public establishments like coffee shops and restaurants offer it to their guests as a means to keep them there longer....which now that it's breakfast time here in London, I'm off to find.