Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Verizon Supports Rev-A On Mac OSX

Verizon Releases VZAccess Manager 3.1.3 - Brings Rev-A Support To Mac OSX

With the latest release of its connection manager software, Verizon is once again showing its love for Mac OSX users.

What's the big deal? Sprint's had Rev-A devices out for a few months now, and we've got them working on Macs for a while now, right? Yes, but not because of anything Sprint has done!

With VZAccess Manager 3.1.3, Mac users now have official - and more importantly - supported software that enables Rev-A EVDO on Macs. With this software, Mac users can clearly tell when they are in a Rev-A network, and know what their signal strength is in bars and dBM. With Sprint, Mac users are able to connect, but real user interface niceties are only something they can wish for.

The new version appears to provide support for Verizon's forthcoming Novatel USB720 USB modem and Pantech PX-500 PCMCIA card, and is likely to support a rumored Novatel Rev-A ExpressCard.

Discuss on EVDOforums: VZAccess 3.1.3 for Mac OS X

Monday, January 29, 2007

Aircard 595 Antenna and Cables Available

When the Sierra AirCard 595 first shipped, it was the first EVDO Rev A PCMCIA card that Sprint shipped in September 2006 and it was the first EVDO Rev A Card that Verizon shipped in December 2006. A few days after the 595 shipped from Sprint, we started a thread on EVDOforums: AirCard 595 Antenna Connector. The AirCard 595 had an antenna connector (to hook up antennas and amplifiers), BUT it was proprietery. No existing cable would work, so there wasn't a way to hook up an external antenna.

Sierra Wireless was selling a cable for $39 + $25 shipping, just for the cable (that didn't include the antenna), but it was also the wrong connector (it was SMA vs. FME).

A few months later and we now have AirCard 595 cable adapters custom built and we are able to offer the same antennas and amplifiers that we do for all other mobile broadband cards (except PC5740 which doesn't have an antenna port):

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Novatel / Merlin EX720 Rev A ExpressCard by Sprint

Feb 18 2007 - NOW SHIPPING

Their are pictures floating around of the EVDO Novatel Merlin EX720 Rev A ExpressCard coming out from Sprint. This device will be in the 34mm form factor and be compatible with laptops that have an ExpressCard/34 or ExpressCard/54. Since the other Novatel 720 family (U720 and S720) both have GPS, we are guessing that the Novatel EX720 will also have built-in GPS support. Since the U720/720 also have both a flip up antenna and an external antenna port, we expect the Novatel EX720 to have the same.

Mac OS X Support

The Merlin EX720 does not work "off the shelf" with MacBook Pros. However, when ordering a Merlin EX720 from us (the Mac EVDO Experts), we will do the following:
  • pre-activate the EX720 before shipping
  • upgrade the firmware (Sprint Firmware required by 4/30)
  • update the PRL - needed for roaming
  • include a CD for PowerBooks and MacBook Pros
  • provide free Mac Support (only if you purchase from us, Sprint doesn't support Macs - WE DO)!
Big hint. If you have a PowerBook, you can order your Merlin EX720 with an ExpressCard adapter and then use the EX720 in your existing 15 or 17 inch PowerBook. When ready to upgrade to a MacBook Pro, just remove the ExpressCard adapter and use the EX720 in your MacBook Pro. Read more on the EX720 & MacBook Pro

Order a Merlin EX720 From 3Gstore.com

Verizon USB720 vs. Sprint U720

Verizon has released their USB720, which is made by the same folks who brought us the Novatel U720 that Sprint has had available since December. Since the hardware is the same, the biggest difference is in the features made available via software.

Verizon has been a longtime favorite of Mac users, because Verizon ships true Mac applications to manage EVDO connections. Its no different with the new USB720. Verizon updated their VZAccess Manager to include connections with the USB720. Aside from showing signal strength and network type (RevA/Rev0), VZAM allows Mac users to activate the USB720, and update firmware/PRL's.

Sprint provides Mac drivers that allow their U720 to connect to EVDO networks. Thats it. No GUI. No Mac OS X version of their Connection Manager. No way to activate the U720 on a Mac, or update firmware/PRLs. You have to find a PC user, and ask if he will 'Cancel or Allow' for you.

We'll give Sprint credit for doing one thing that Verizon is NOT doing: Sprint does let Windows users of the U720, to take advantage of the U720's built in GPS functionality. Verizon has no plans to let Mac or PC users do that.

Alrighty then. Aside from software differences, what else should you know about how Verizon and Sprint's Rev-A USB Modem offering? Lets break it down for you...

Pricing with 2 year service contract:

Verizon USB720: $119.99 - Mail in Rebate $50, net cost - $69.99
Sprint U720: $99.99 - Mail-in Rebate $50, net cost = $49.99
(the Sprint rebate ends 02/17, act fast)

Monthly Fee:

Verizon USB720: $79.99/mo (if you don't have a Verizon Cell Phone)
$59.99/mo, if you do have a Verizon cell phone
Sprint U720: $59.99/mo (with or without Sprint Cell Phone)

So, if you have a Verizon cell phone, it is just $20 cheaper to get a Sprint Novatel U720 vs. a Verizon USB720, until Sprint's rebate ends on Feb. 17th. If you are NOT a Verizon cell phone customer it will cost you $500 more over the 2 year service contract ($20 up front, plus $20/mo more). If you are a Mac user who wants the most Mac-like experience, you're better off getting the Verizon USB720 because of its wonderful Mac OS X VZAccess Manager.

GPS Features:
(The Novatel USB Modem has GPS hardware built in.)
Verizon USB720: No GPS functionality at all.
Sprint U720: Available to Windows users only.

Terms Of Service

Verizon: 5gb 'cap' per month. if you go over, you account gets canceled
(more info: Verizon Terminated My Service - EVDOforums and What does 5GB Get Me?)
Sprint: Unlimited Bandwidth

EVDO Roaming

Verizon: No EVDO Roaming
Sprint: EVDO Roaming arrangement with Alltel

Mac OS X Support

Verizon: Included VZAccess Connection Manager supports Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher
Sprint: No Mac OS X Connection Manager - but drivers are available allowing connection.

EVDO Rev A Network

So, whose is better? Sprint has been rolling it over over the last 4 months or so. Verizon's Rev-A network was first spotted back in December. Verizon recently announced their Rev-A network launching, and though they are blitzing press releases announcing a lot of cities lately, there are quite a few Rev-A markets identified on EVDOmaps that Verizon has not announced as of this article. Right now, its anybody's guess which carrier has more Rev-A network coverage.

Which is better?

The 5GB limit is something everyone needs to consider before going with Verizon. If you go over the limit, you get canceled... no warning, just a letter that says you are terminated. From a price point of view, Sprint Wins! You can save anywhere from $20 - $500 by going with Sprint.

If you are looking to purchase your USB720 or U720 from the EVDO Experts, you can at:
Post your comments on: Sprint U720 vs. Verizon USB720 - EVDOforums

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sprint vs Verizon, Selling On The Web

Verizon vs. Sprint

What an interesting day on Wednesday, January 24, 2006.

Two related events but with completely different directions started today.

First, we get notified from Verizon, that we have to use an "authorized logo" on our order form (we immediately complied), ALSO, they tell us, that in order to sell on the web, we will not be able to display prices directly on our web site AND we will not be able to offer customers a simple method for ordering (we offer a secure and simple way to place orders now). You know, "CALL FOR PRICE" vs. giving people a simple way to order, it doesn't make a lot a sense. We have been selling (and supporting) Verizon for the last 2 years and have added 1000's of satisified customers who are happily paying Verizon $60 - $80/month. They became OUR customers, because they were fed up with the lack of knowledge at stores, tech support or even "Verizon Reps".

I wonder if it has anything to do with how we compete with Verizon. We charge $99.99 for a Novatel V640 on a 2 year and Verizon charges $179.99. Hmm, I wonder why they don't want us to list prices on our web site? There is also intense competition between different channels at Verizon. When the Novatel V640 first came out, only the Verizon direct channel wanted to sell them, they wouldn't release any to other channels (but we found a way to get them). For those of you that stuck with us during the V640 backorder, the biggest problem was that Verizon didn't want to sell us any, even though we had hundreds on backorder.

Verizon should be very careful, not to bite the hand that feeds them.

Now, on the same day we get an email from Sprint.

According to our contract with them, no company has officially been able to sell on the web (geez, sounds almost like Verizon, but keep reading). Sprint, sends out an addendum to our contract that now officially allows selling on the web. There is one extra step we have to do, basically show the customer the Sprint service agreement before they can order (not a bad idea). Yes, we have been selling Sprint data cards for some time, but now we are allowed to sell. Good job Sprint!

Verizon and Sprint take different roads and I don't understand why Verizon seems to always be shooting themselves in the foot. First, Verizon started terminating customers who use too much of "unlimited" service - see Verizon Terminated my Service. Now, they are trying to bury their competition (although some would argue that Verizon doesn't come close to the services that EVDOinfo, EVDOforums, EVDOmaps provide).

I understand how Verizon/Sprint need to control web sites that sell and represent them, especially scammers and those that just push boxes or don't add value. BUT, they really should not put every "web site" in the same category. Not all are created equal. We pride ourselves in our support and knowledge, MUCH more than you will get at a store. What kind of experience have you had with a store, and would you send your grandmother if she needed a data card? What about us, would you recommend our services (hint, that is where most of our business comes from, satisfied customers).

We are going to continue with Verizon, BUT they are going to make it difficult to order from us online over the coming weeks (if you like ordering over the phone, this will not affect you) and it seems like they may be giving favorable treatment to other web sites. Verizon, you should move slowly and you might want to reconsider.

Can you hear me now?

Feel free to comment on this article on EVDOforums.com

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Vista Compatible EVDO Data Cards

Here Comes Microsoft Vista, is the EVDO / Mobile Broadband card that you have compatible?

Do you have (or are you planning on getting) an EVDO Card and you want to make sure that it is compatible with Microsoft Vista? As of January 23, 2007 the following EVDO Data cards are fully supported in Vista:

As a service to our customers, we have the following pages that will stay current on the compatibility of Vista:

EVDO Card Comparison - EVDOinfo.com
Vista and EVDO Cards - Compatibility Info - EVDOforums

Monday, January 15, 2007

Announcing EVDOmaps.com

We like helping our customers when it comes to EVDO, so we created EVDOmaps.com

What is EVDOmaps.com?

A user based EVDO reporting and benchmarking tool that is tied to GoogleMaps.

With EVDOmaps.com, the EVDO community will gain 3 important new functionality:

1) Easily see where new EVDO Rev A Coverage is BEFORE Verizon or Sprint make the announcement

2) Help see where areas are "overloaded", areas that are getting below average performance

3) Help see if one of our antenna or amplifiers helps for specific areas.

For more info visit http://EVDOmaps.com

Friday, January 12, 2007

iPhone EVDO or Give me iPhone3G

What a huge disappointment that Apple Inc selected EDGE for the "high speed" internet connection for the iPhone.

EDGE will go 75 - 135Kbps

EVDO Rev A will go 500Kbps - 900Kbps (with bursts to 3.1Mbps - we were recently averaging 1,200Kbps - 2,000Kbps)

This is a reason why Steve Jobs gave a demo on WiFi and not EDGE. EDGE isn't very high speed, just ask users who use it.

Cingular is working on a high speed network called HSDPA, but HSDPA isn't widely available, like EVDO is in the US. The reason Apple selected EDGE was so that it would work globally. However, many companies have a GSM (EDGE) and CDMA (EVDO) version of the same phone.

The question is, how long before Apple releases a 3G (especially EVDO) based iPhone? That is what we want/need!

Discuss this topic at:

iPhone 3G, or why EDGE Sucks we want EVDO - EVDOforums