Sprint Overdrive Hot Spot Wants to Meet Your iPad
Perhaps it was the
first hands-on reviews of the Apple iPad that prompted Sprint to release an
April 1 statement reminding mobile device users that it offers the Overdrive
3G/4G Mobile Hotspot, which, in select areas, can offer 4G speeds to devices
like, oh, say, the iPad.
Not only does the Overdrive create a high-speed hot spot offering 3G and 4G connectivity to up to five devices at once, but it adds extra speed, according to Sprint, which claims that on its 4G network the iPad can surf the Web at speeds up to 10 times faster than on a 3G network.
"When coupled with Sprint's 4G technology, any WiFi-enabled device will be faster than 3G," Matt Carter, president of Sprint 4G, said in a statement. "It will be six months to a year or longer before any other national wireless carrier can connect a WiFi-enabled tablet like the iPad with up to four more wireless devices simultaneously at 4G speeds like the Overdrive can do today."
Sprint, through partner Clearwire, currently offers 4G WiMax technology in 28 U.S. markets-most recently Houston, where Clearwire on March 29 began offering 4G to a service area covering 4 million people.
Certain iPad models will, in addition to WiFi, offer 3G service from AT&T. While it has upgraded its network to HSPA 7.2, AT&T doesn't expect to begin rolling out its 4G network, based on LTE (Long-Term Evolution) technology, until 2011.
Competitor Verizon Wireless, which has also committed to LTE, has conducted 4G testing in Boston and Seattle and plans to launch the 4G technology in 30 markets, covering 100 million people, by the end of 2010.
According to Sprint, industry averages for 3G speeds are 600K bps to 1.7M bps, while 4G average speeds are 3M bps to 6 M bps.
On March 23, Sprint also introduced the HTC Evo 4G, the first dual-mode 3G/4G smartphone in the United States. Running the Google Android 2.1 operating system, it features a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, a 4.3-inch capacitive touch screen, and an 8-megapixel camera as well as a 1.3-megapixel front-facing camera.
The Sprint Overdrive retails for $99.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year service contract.