Friday, December 22, 2006

Verizon EVDO Rev-A Sightings

Sprint made a big deal when it launched its EVDO Rev-A network in San Diego last October. Soon as they did, EVDO users everywhere began murmuring about Verizon's plans for Rev-A. As months have passed, the murmurs became screams: "How can Verizon continue to be silent about its Rev-A plans, and let Sprint look like the clear Rev-A winner?"

Indeed.

Then a rumor busts out last week about Verizon launching its EVDO Rev-A network on December 15th. The rumor was true and Verizon began selling its first Rev-A hardware, the Sierra AirCard 595, a Rev-A PC Card.

No fanfare from Verizon at all. In fact there was denial at first. Nobody at Verizon claims to have known about this launch. Finally, one Verizon rep implied to many bloggers - "Idiots, all the recent PR over the past few months were really for Rev-A networks."

Now that users are getting their hands on the Sierra ac595 card, Verizon won't be able to keep their Rev-A networks as a hidden secret, much longer. Reports of Verizon's Rev-A networks are already showing up on this EVDO FORUMS thread on Verizon Rev-A Sightings. Early reports include Chicago, Dallas and Washington DC... watch the thread grow quickly over the next few days, as more and more users get the Sierra 595 cards and report their results.

Could it be that Verizon has more Rev-A coverage than Sprint and is planning one major announcement, rather than Sprint's approach of tell-as-you-go? Only time will tell.

A last note about the Verizon Rev-A hardware... Mac users have long enjoyed Verizon's commitment to having a connection manager that runs on MacOSX, but the Sierra AC595 did not come with a Mac version of VZAccess Manager at launch. The card is not made Mac-compatible by Verizon.

Fear not, Mac users. EVDOinfo.com has got your back!

For their Mac customers of Verizon's Sierra AirCard 595 Rev-A PC Card, EVDOinfo.com will take necessary steps to prepare the card for Mac use... those steps include activation on windows laptop, upgrading firmware for Rev-A networks, and shipping compatible software on CD.


If thats not enough to convince you to deal with the EVDO Experts at EVDO INFO, this should do the trick: When you buy your Sierra 595 from sister site Booster-Antenna.com, you will pay $30 less than the Verizon site or store!

Order yours today!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Live, From Chicago: Its Verizon Rev-A!

Late last week a rumor surfaced that Verizon would start selling Rev-A hardware on Friday, December 15th. That rumor proved to be accurate, and just as soon as the Rev-A Sierra AirCard 595 from Verizon was available for sale, speculation began on the subject of where Verizon might already have Rev-A turned on. An interview with Verizon implied that all recent Verizon PR about new EVDO markets were Rev-A activations, but they stopped short of actually saying that, officially.

We just got our hands on the new card and are testing it on a train ride from our offices in Cary, IL into downtown Chicago and back. We are excited to report that Rev-A is definitely live in Chicago!

For additional screenshots, see our Verizon EVDO Rev A story on EVDOinfo.com.

We will maintain a list of all the cities where Rev-A has been spotted, over on EVDO FORUMS

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Novatel Ovation U720 EVDOinfo Review Available


EVDOinfo (our sister site), has just published a review of the Novatel Ovation U720 from Sprint. If you are interested in finding out more, read our review on Sprint's U720 EVDO Rev A USB Modem.

Friday, December 15, 2006

"Mac.Intosh" serves up u720 solution for Mac Users

The Rev-A Novatel U720 USB Modem has been out for about two weeks now, and there are still no 'official' drivers from Sprint or Apple. That means there is no supported method of getting the popular u720 to work on any Mac, even though we know it works on Macs.

Not one to wait around, a zealous Mac-Guru named "Mac.Intosh" has put together an installer package and has links posted on the Novatel Ovation U720 USB Rev A and Mac OS X Compatibility - EVDOforums.com

Several users have had success with the installer, and have already expressed great appreciation for the package, proclaiming "Mac.Intosh" to be royalty in the Mac community.

As with the Pantech PX-500, the resulting installation on the Mac is not perfect - you can't see connection information like bar strength, or see if you are on Rev-0 or Rev-A network, and you can't activate the u720, nor update any information on it. That still has to happen on a PC.

Regardless of the quirks, Mac users can rejoice in the fact that at least they CAN use the u720 on their Macs... and get this - reports show that Macs are getting faster u720 performance than PCs!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Verizon Ships First EVDO Rev A Card - AC595

Verizon Ships First EVDO Rev A Card - Sierra AirCard 595 PCMCIA

Verizon joins the EVDO Rev A race with their first EVDO Rev A card. This is a PCMCIA card, so it will only work in laptops that have a PCMCIA slot (not the newer ExpressCard slot). The AirCard 595 has a proprierty antenna connector and isn't compatible with many popular routers. However, IT IS REV A.

We have heard that carriers have only been able to get EVDO Rev A base stations for the last few months and that all the sites that have gone live have actually been EVDO Rev A. We will know after this card starts appearing in market.

For the latest info see the following related links:

Verizon EVDO Rev A Coverage Sightings - EVDOforums
Verizon Sierra AirCard 595 Rev A Now Shipping - EVDOforums
Place your Order Now for a Verizon AirCard 595

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

"Only as good as the company you keep"

This blogpost will detail our recent Novatel U720 Rollout. We first mentioned the U720 back in April. We knew then that it would have an impact, and have watched for it ever since. Rumors started swirling in September that the device would launch in early October... and then early November -- both dates came and went, and nothing happened.

We later learned that someone goofed up and forgot to get FCC approval on a cable that ships with the device, and that was the reason given for latest delay. Rumors began swirling that the device would launch in early December, shortly after FCC approval.

Near the end of November, while searching distributors for a different product, we stumbled upon a distributor with stock of Novatel U720's we could get our hands on. Since, some customers walked into Sprint stores earlier in the month and walked out with a U720 and Novatel was approved to sell the Novatel Ovation U720 on Sprint's network, we decided the U720 was a go. We did not immediately jump on the opportunity because prior offers have always had some type of catch to them, and we learned the hard way that it wasn't always worth being the first to sell a new product. So, we really took our time and checked with Sprint to ensure that there would be no reason our newfound inventory would not work.

After checking all the roadblocks that had bitten us in the past, feeling like this device was too important, we decided to grab what we could from our distributor, and announced that we had them for sale.

In retrospect, we should have listened to our guts (and our wives) because once again, it didn't work out as well as we wanted.

At first, it was a simple matter that Novatel forgot to submit the ESN's (electronic serial numbers) to Sprint, and so all orders were showing the devices as not being in system.

We got past that hiccup and once the ESN's were valid, our order processor was doing their best to get the orders entered into system as quickly as possible, only to find out that the order entry code used to give consumers their $150 service credit, would not work with our inventory of devices. It appeared that Sprint was only going to approve the service credits (which automatically show up on your first Sprint bill), if the devices came from Sprint stock. (our immediate reaction was... wtf?)

By this time a few days had already passed and under normal circumstances, our customers would have already had their devices. But we weren't that lucky, and our luck wasn't going to get any better, anytime soon.

We decided that the best thing we could think of to get our customers their orders as soon as possible, was to give in to the Big Sprint Machine and let them ship product from their inventory so that the service credits would apply. At the time, we felt like we were being stepped on, but we had to do what was right for our customers.

For the most part, that last step worked. All but a handful of people got their devices by the end of last week. All... but a handful.

The handful who arbitrarily did not get a device shipped from Sprint stock, are some of the most patient customers we have ever had, and truly... We thank them for still being our customers.

For these unfortunate few, Sprint sometimes gave tracking numbers that never had a package picked up, or it was the wrong tracking number, or their order was shipped to the wrong address, or their order was never even assigned a device because we now learn that "due to the Holiday Season, all orders are experiencing 7 to 10 day shipment delays, and we expect this to be the norm for some time to come".

We can't blame folks for having the opinions they hold about big companies like Sprint. Too often, customers are treated like ants, simply because to the Big Company, there are plenty more where you come from, next time they host a picnic.

We just hope that our customers can disassociate our customer support from Sprint customer support. Yes, we realize that they placed their order (and faith) with us, and we appreciate it.

But we aren't Sprint - we're a small outfit and this is our livelihood. Each person working in this company works to do whats right by the customer or they won't be working here long.

Our problem is clear.

You're Only As Good As the Company You Keep

... that company is Sprint, and they made us look bad.

We hope that some of these issues are related to growing pains (e.g. EVDO Rev A announced, $59.99 for anyone announced, First EVDO Rev A Devices including USB announced), and the surge of orders and new customers is just overwhelming Sprint's order system. Hopefully it improves over time, so that they can handle all these new customers they are getting.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sprint EVDO and Macs - December 2006


This is an update on Sprint Support for Mac users. Last month, we reported that when Sprint rolled out EVDO Rev A, they left out a lot of Mac users.

As of December 7, 2006 things are a little better. Maybe this blog made a difference! The Pantech PX-500 Rev-A Card, now works with PowerBooks that have a PCMCIA slot (15 and 17 inch only)

Pantech PX-500 Mac PowerBook Compatibility

The solution isn't perfect -- activation and updates to the the card still has to happen on a PC. Also, you will need a Windows laptop to perform any firmware upgrades, PRL Updates or to see signal strength. But diehard Mac fans will live with that, in order to fly at Rev-A EVDO speeds.

Obviously, not every Mac can take advantage of Rev-A yet. Macs without PCMCIA Slots are left out of Rev-A goodness. For those folks, all is not lost, they can still use Sprint EVDO with the Franklin CDU-550, though it won't be at Rev-A speeds. Sigh.

This week, Sprint finally made available the long awaited Novatel U720, which we initially reported as being intel-mac compatible. That turned out to be an accidental discovery that Verizon's latest VZAccess Manager software installed drivers for the U720. Forensics show us that Verizon's upcoming version is called the Novatel V720 and is the same device. The same Verizon update also supports all the other Rev-A Cards for Mac users. Whoa. But wait! -- the update from Verizon is no longer available! Hmm. Wonder why that stopped being available... Could it be the power of EVDOinfo.com? ;-)

Even more interesting is the fact that Sprint's website reported the exact same information we published, days after we did. (See for yourself at this screenshot we saved).

What we do know, is shortly after it was posted in forums that the Sprint site says the device is erroneously Mac-compatible, the Sprint site started to have all references to Mac-compatibility removed. Hmmmmm. Since Sprint doesn't currently support Macs, they are waiting on Apple to push out a software update that supports the U720, until this happens, the U720 isn't Mac compatible (see latest info on U720 Mac Compatibility - EVDOforums.com)

Oh. Still no ExpressCard solution from Sprint.
Maybe in the next 30 days?
Can anyone say MacWorld?

Speaking of which, if you go to MacWorld, look us up at Booth 304
We'll have all the latest and greatest EVDO goodies to show off!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Use an EVDO ExpressCard in a PC Card Slot


More and more these days, laptop manufacturers are starting to use ExpressCard slots instead of PC Card (PCMCIA) slots. To satisfy the new breed, Verizon launched the V640 ExpressCard in early August and in late August we tested Verizon's ExpressCard/PC Card adapter only to find out that more often than not, it did not work as advertised. Read all the horror stories here.

Recently we tested a brand new adapter and tested it in as many ways as we could, and guess what?

This one works!

We even have video proof. Check it out.

Now folks who have older laptops with PC card slots can buy the V640 ExpressCard and not worry about having to get a different card when they get a newer laptop.

We've started a new forum thread that will report success and failures of the adapter, as more and more people buy and use them.

You can also purchase one if you have a V640 ExpressCard, or purchase a V640 and ExpressCard Adapter together.