Novatel Wireless announced today a new connectivity solution that creates a miniature mobile Wi-Fi hotspot using your cell-phone service. The cleverly named MiFi allows multiple users to share a broadband connection to the Internet from anywhere a cell-phone connection is available—including from a moving vehicle.
The device is small enough to fit in a coat pocket and comes with a battery capable of delivering four hours of active use on a single charge, with 40 hours of standby time. It will be capable of connecting to 3G and 4G WCDMA (HSPA and UMTS) , CDMA, and GSM networks, rendering it compatible with both the EVDO service that Verizon offers and the Edge service offered by AT& T.
The device, which is aimed at the SOHO (small office/home office) and SMB (small- to medium-sized business) markets will be sold through mobile carriers. It can be configured to deliver basic IT-management functions, including VPN (virtual private network) , email synchronization, and remote device management. It will also support custom third-party applications.
Novatel expects to ship the MiFi some time in the first half of 2009 and expects it to sell it for $200, but the cost of such devices is typically subsidized by the carrier.
NOTE: This story was updated with new pricing information on December 9. —mb