Thursday, November 30, 2006

Verizon Hints At EVDO Rev-A Upgrade

Back in October, Sprint rolled out its Rev-A network starting in San Diego. Since that time, many have asked how long Verizon can stay quiet about their plans to launch Rev-A.

We're now hearing that some Verizon customers are getting postcards (talk about old skool) that advise customers to do a firmware upgrade or else "your PC Card or PDA will no longer be able to connect to BroadbandAccess effective February 2007".

Hmmm. Upgrade or Else. Nice. See for yourself at this Verizon site: BroadbandAccess Device Update

Reading between the lines its clear that a major network upgrade is coming, which should definitely mean Rev-A, right? RIGHT?

Its curious to me that they actually leave it up to your imagination in that announcement instead of clearly saying "Our Rev-A Network Launches February 2007".

Regardless, the folks who do need to upgrade their firmware (mostly those that purchased their cards before December 2005) need to do so for compatibility with whatever the upgraded network provides. It does NOT say that the upgraded devices will be able to take advantage of faster Rev-A speeds, they won't be able to, since Rev A devices require a new chipset.

Because of chipset requirements, Verizon is going to have to announce and sell a whole new line of Rev-A devices in conjunction with their Rev-A network rollout, whenever that happens.

We have heard that for the last 3 months that only Rev A basestations have been available, so when Verizon "flips the switch" in February, they actually may have a very large EVDO Rev A footprint.

Discuss this topic on EVDOforums at:
Upgrade your firmware or else?? (Verizon Rev A Feb 2007)

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pantech PX-500 now Mac Compatible

For months now, Mac users have clamored for a Sprint PCMCIA EVDO Card that would work with their trusty PowerBooks. We helped them along by coming up with a hack that allowed more technically-savvy users to get the Merlin S720 card working. It wasn't pretty, we couldn't support it, but it worked and thats all that mattered to the Mac community who have come to count on us for Mac + EVDO Expertise.

Sprint recently rolled out their new Rev-A networks in select cities across the nation, and with it came a new firmware revision that made our hack no longer functional with the S720 card. Panic among the Sprint/Mac faithful ensued. What will we do now? Can a new hack still save us? Sadly, no.

Alas, it seems one good side effect of the Rev-A firmware upgrades is that the wonderfully priced (free) Pantech PX-500 is now compatible with PowerBook 15 and 17 inch laptops that sport a PCMCIA slot. Yay! and without a hack! Sweet! and quite possibly, Rev-A Speeds! SUH-WEEET!

There's more to this report though. PX-500 users will not be able to see any sort of signal strength, nor can the card be activated in a mac, nor can you do any future firmware or PRL updates on a mac. All that still has to happen on a PC. For those ordering from us, we will gladly pre-activate, update to the needed Rev A firmware before shipping it to you.

Fine. Its not perfect. But it is much better than we've had from the Sprint folks, in a long time.

Just how fast is it when used on a Mac? that, we can show you:




There are still some unanswered questions that linger:
Will it truly provide Rev-A speeds when used in Rev-A networks?
Will it work on older Mac Laptops with PCMCIA slots? (Wallstreet/Pismo?)

Important Links:
Order a PX-500 from Us (includes Pre-Activation and Mac Setup Guide)
Discuss PX-500 Mac Compatibility on EVDOforums

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sprint Rev-A Coverage Maps

Sprint launched its Rev-A service in San Diego in late October. Its now been about three weeks, and reports by avid EVDO junkies on the best EVDO FORUMS have shown that Rev-A is actually turned up in at least 10 cities.

But some folks wanted something more official than the word of the man-on-the-street.

OK then. Don't believe the hard-core EVDO users. You want real proof where Rev-A is turned up? Sprint is now showing where Rev-A is available on their static maps.

You can learn more at this post on EVDO INFO... home of the EVDO EXPERTS!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Verizon Announces Variable Early Termination Fee (ETF)

Verizon announces the end to the $175 Early Termination Fee. The Early Termination Fee starts at $175 and for every month that you complete, you subtract $5 from the fee. So, if you are 22 months into a 24 month contract, instead of paying $175 to "get out early", you only pay $65.

We think this is a great idea and we think consumers will agree.

Lets see how long it takes before other carriers match this move.

Discuss on EVDOforums.com

Monday, November 13, 2006

Sharing Your EVDO Connection with Parallels

After Apple started using Intel chips, a lot of Mac users installed the Parallels Virtual Machine, allowing them to use Windows Applications right on their Macs.

Lots of those same people discovered it was difficult to use their EVDO connectivity within the Parallels virtual machine... leaving their windows world stuck without internet access. (Actually, the best way to prevent spam and virii, but thats a different subject.)

As a service to our customers (and our customers-to-be), we've decided to make life simpler for many folks by publishing information that will make it easier to share the EVDO connectivity with the dark side of your Mac!

Sharing Your EVDO Connection with Parallels
Discuss Parallels and EVDO on EVDOforums

Friday, November 10, 2006

Novatel Ovation U720 USB Modem Delayed

The EVDO USB Modem Soap Opera Continues :(

First, Sprint certifies the Franklin CDU-550 USB Modem back in August 2006 and Sprint decided to not completely promote the modem. How did they not completely promote the modem? Sprint decided to give only corporate users the standard $150 service credit when signing up for a 2 year service plan. So for consumers, they would have to pay regular prices and not get a deal when buying. Since, so many people have been wanting a USB device, many didn't care and grabbed the Franklin USB Modem (or if you are a business, you do get the $150 service credit on your first Sprint bill).

A few weeks after the Franklin started shipping, word leaked out that Novatel would be releasing a USB modem for use on Sprint's network (called the Novatel Ovation U720). This device would be actually sold by Sprint (unlike the Franklin USB Modem, which is sold by a few resellers, including us). First word leaked out that October 1st was the day. Next, it was pushed back to November 4th. The week before November 4th, Sprint pushed it back to November 11th. According to various Sprint sources, the release has now been pushed back another 3 weeks OR more. Why?

According to Sprint, the Y Adapter cable that is used to give the Novatel U720 additional power AND move the modem away from the computer, was never approved by the FCC. The Novatel Ovation U720 IS approved, but the Y Cable that is included is not. Sprint says that it could take at least 3 weeks for the approval, BUT it could take a lot longer.

The real winner in this saga? Franklin Wireless. They have a device that is shipping now.

To discuss this, OR to find the latest information, visit the following EVDOforums thread:

Novatel Ovation U720 Delayed, Forgot Y Cable FCC Approval
Read our Franklin CDU-550 Review
Buy a Frankln CDU-550