Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Mi-Fi is a game changer

Verizon is launching the Novatel Mi-Fi this week. It is a game changing product. I currently have an original iPhone and a MacBook Pro. I have been considering getting a wireless broadband card so that I can access Twitter and Facebook more easily. The Mi-fi changes the choice dramatically.

I use Twitter as a major source for news and to stay in contact with people. However, Twitter's web site is now blocked by the Internet filters at work. Twitter is not the only blacklisted site. Facebook, YouTube and a plethora of video sites are on that list.

Since I spend much of my time in the Baltimore area the new XOHM Wi-Max service is an interesting option. It is a relatively low cost service with no long term contracts to sign. They currently offer a "Pick 2" option which could give me a home wireless broadband modem and a usb modem for $50 per month.

Another option is an AT&T 3G Wireless broadband card that I can tie to my iPhone contract. The cost is $60/month for 5Gb of bandwidth.

Verizon offering the Mi-Fi competes with that same service. $60/month for 5Gb of bandwidth. But I get a portable wi-fi zone. This offers intriguing possibilities. Broadband is not limited to one device. It will work with any Wi-Fi device. This means:

  • I might not need to upgrade my iPhone (unless Apple launches a dramatically improved iPhone next month)
  • I could Skype from my iPhone via the Mi-Fi to call anyone from anywhere
  • I can connect my MacBook Pro to the Mi-Fi by the Wi-Fi link. Connecting via Wi-Fi on a Mac is a breeze.  
  • I could replace the memory card in my camera and use Eye-Fi Memory Cardand allow my camera to upload photos to the Internet automatically
  • If Apple announces a new iPod TouchI can connect that to the Mi-Fi and use it like an iPhone without needing to sign up for a new AT&T contract.

With the Mi-Fi Verizon doesn't need to sell the iPhone. They could just start bundling the Mi-Fi with an iPod Touchand they have an interesting product offering to compete with AT&T. Would Apple care - Probably not if it means more sales for the iPod Touch.

When Apple finally provides background processing for the iPhone and iPod Touchit will create intriguing possibilities. I could then use an iPod Touchwith a Mi-Fi and a Skype-In phone number and I have an iPhone like device I can carry with me.

Yes, The Mi-Fi really looks like a game changing device.

1 comment:

  1. Some thoughts I had after reading your post:

    You may want to read the middle three links from here, first:

    I can already use my iPod Touch to call with Fring App and microphone headset (see iPod accessories). I could use it also with Skype if I chose.

    Although twitter is blocked at some spots where I am, I can access via iPod touch because of ports that are used. It depends on wireless security and ports you choose.

    Sprint is also offering the MiFi with a similar, yet different package. Actually, the MiFi is produced by Novatel Wireless and I expect others to use/pick up on this with competition driving down price.