Friday, January 30, 2009

Cradlepoint Officially Endorses MP3450i 3G Router Battery Pack

We love the new 3G Router Battery Pack that we are now selling at 3Gstore, and now we can add one more great reason why the MP3450i is the best commercial battery pack on the market for powering your 3G routers: Cradlepoint has endorsed the MP3450i and will continue to honor warranties if you use this battery with your Cradlepoint! Their official policy states:
"CradlePoint will officially accept use of the Tekkeon MP3450i with our products and will continue to honor our warranty. This offer only applies to the MP3450i and will only be honored if used in the configurations shown in the following article. http://cradlepoint.com/knowledge-base/tekkeon-mp3450i Please reference the correct model number in all documentation as no other battery is accepted or honored with the CradlePoint warranty."
What this means is that the MP3450i is the ONLY battery pack accepted for use by Cradlepoint (using anything else will void your warranty) AND 3Gstore is currently the ONLY store in the USA to sell it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

CradlePoint CTR350/PHS300 2.3 Firmware Adds Support For Many More EVDO/HSPA devices

Cradlepoint PHS300 and CTR350

CradlePoint has released Firmware Version 2.3 that provides official device support for:

In addition to new device support, a key new feature was added that allows device activation and PRL updates from router admin -- that means that customers with feature-compatible devices may never need to use their carrier connection software again!

This new firmware also adds feature that allows OpenDNS server functionality while using a device for the Sprint EVDO network.

Other Japanese market devices and additional information about this firmware release can be found in the official Cradlepoint release notes PDF for firmware 2.3

PLEASE NOTE: Upgrading to this firmware release will cause a factory reset from previous firmware. Please be sure to save your configuration settings (Tools -> Admin menu) before loading this firmware and then restore your configuration afterwards.


For those ordering the CTR350 or PHS300 from 3Gstore.com, starting 01/29/09, we will automatically include a CD that has the latest firmware.

Related Links

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Verizon Removes "My Usage" Tool on VZW.com

Update 1/30/09: The "My Usage" tool is back on VZW.com! Perhaps they read this....?

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If you have a Verizon Mobile Broadband account, you are all too familiar with the 5GB per month bandwidth limit and likely take pains to monitor your usage lest you rack up a nasty bill thanks to their overage charges. Checking your usage used to be fairly straightforward: VZ Access Manager has a "usage" tab you can click, or if you connected with a wireless router you could log into your Verizon account at vzw.com and access it there.

Not anymore! Today we started hearing reports from router users that Verizon has REMOVED the ability to check your data usage online. As of right now, the only way to check your usage is in VZAM:


This is obviously a HUGE inconvenience for folks who connect via a router - many don't even have VZAM installed on a computer, because they don't need it.

An ideal solution would be for Cradlepoint to include a data monitoring utility in a future firmware release for their routers. Cradlepoint is always open to hearing suggestions from users, and if you would like to see a tool like this for your Cradlepoint router, we encourage you to send them an email at suggestions@cradlepoint.com and let them know!

Introducing the Tekkeon myPower MP3450i Battery Pack for 3G Routers!


One of the best things about wireless broadband like EVDO or HSPA is that it allows the user to stay connected no matter where they are, whether you're flying down the highway in your RV, writing a term paper at Starbucks, or telecommuting to work in your home office. Utilizing a router along with your wireless broadband service lets you get even more out of your service, since you can share it with multiple computers or create a home network. The downside to this, of course, is that with a router, you can't really be truly wireless - you need a power supply somewhere for the router!

When Cradlepoint released their battery-powered PHS300 router, we were thrilled, and so were many of our customers - it was our 5th best-selling item at 3Gstore in 2008! However, it made us even MORE hungry for a suitable battery that could provide power to the rest of our 3G routers - something reliable that could attach easily to the router and provide substantial (many hours) battery-powered life. After many months of testing and a lot of disappointments with sub-par products, we found the Tekkeon myPower MP3450i.

As I mentioned, we did a LOT of searching and testing before determining that the MP3450i was the BEST available product for our goal: to provide substantial backup battery power to a 3G router. Our qualifications for the perfect product were as follows:
  • Once properly set, the output voltage will never exceed maximum allowable for a particular router.
  • Once properly set, the output voltage will never drop below minimum allowable for a particular router.
  • Everything a user might need to use with a 3G router is included. User does not need to make a cable.
  • The unit must provide *significant* runtime for multiple models of 3G routers sold by 3Gstore.com
  • Remaining battery level must be visible and easy to read.
  • The manufacturer must back their product, and communicate well with 3Gstore when issues arise.
The MP3450i fit all of those qualifications and more. It uses dip switches to determine the DC voltage that it provides through the coiled output cable, and the various combinations of dip switch positions will allow for DC output voltage in 16 steps from 5volts to 19volts - meaning it's compatible with more devices without the risk of "frying" your router (something that happened to many customers attempting to use other batteries or making their own). Even better, the amount of battery life it is able to provide is phenomenal: Under normal cellular signal conditions the 3450i will power a CTR350, PHS300 or CTR500 for as much as SIXTEEN HOURS, and will power an MBR1000 or KR2 for as much as TWELVE HOURS! There's also an available extended battery (the MP3450-10) that you can connect to double!

Tekkeon MP3450i box contents
MP3450i ships with A/C adapter, five DC jacks, bag and manual

You'll want to read the full review of the MP3450i to get a full idea of how it works and what it does, but suffice it to say that we are very pleased with this product and excited to be the first US vendor to sell it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Verizon's XV6900 Smartphone Gets a Rev-A Upgrade


Both Verizon and Sprint have been offering EVDO Rev-A on their networks for about two years now, but it's taken quite a while for either carrier to offer a decent selection of Rev-A capable phones. As more and more new devices hit the market, though, it looks like Rev-A might be becoming a more available feature at last. It was only very recently that Verizon launched the LG Dare, their first Rev-A phone (and a very cool device at that - check out our review!), but in the last few months they've released the popular Blackberry Storm and more recently the Samsung Saga and Omnia. Now we can add another device to the list of Verizon Rev-A phones: the XV6900 (AKA the HTC Touch).

Well that's not new, you say - It's been available since last spring! That's true - Verizon has had the XV6900 for almost a year now - but it was only capable of connecting to EVDO Rev-0. Now there is an upgrade available that will make your XV6900 Rev-A capable! In addition to making the phone Rev-A compatible, the official Windows Mobile 6.1 update provides an updated MMS client, Microsoft Remote Desktop Application, VzNavigator support, and support for 16GB microSD memory cards. This upgrade makes the XV6900 an excellent candidate for tethering. If you own an XV6900, you can download the upgrade from Personal Communications Devices' web site.

To read about the other Rev-A capable phones available from Sprint and Verizon or to discuss the XV6900 upgrade, visit the Rev-A Phones/PDA discussion on the EVDO Forums

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Verizon Announces 2 Changes

It's been a busy week for Verizon! The company announced 2 changes this week:

First, effective immediately, the name of Verizon's EVDO service has changed from BroadbandAccess to Verizon Mobile Broadband Access. Nothing about the service has changed at all - this is strictly a name change. So why bother changing the name? According to Verizon, "our customers have asked for product names that are easy to understand. We have listened to our customers and as a result we have made the name change. This is simply a name change and customers will still enjoy the same high quality service with high-speed wireless Internet." Interestingly, "Mobile Broadband" is what Sprint calls their EVDO service as well.


The second change affects Verizon cell phone customers and shows that progress is being made with the arduous task of integrating Alltel's systems into their own: they have updated their "In Calling" or "Mobile to Mobile" network to include some Alltel subscribers. Verizon's Mobile to Mobile calling and messaging program allows any subscriber with a monthly calling plan of $39.99 and above or a messaging plan that is at least $10/month make free calls, text and picture messages to other Verizon subscribers, and now they will be able to do so with certain Alltel customers, too! So if you're a Verizon subscriber with a friend on Alltel, you may be able to call him/her without using your minutes. Not all Alltel subscribers are included in this, so to check if an Alltel subscriber is now part of the Mobile to Mobile family, go to verizonwireless.com, then click "mobile to mobile" under the "learn more" tab; you will then see text that says "Are your friends and family in America's Largest Mobile to Mobile Calling Family?" and there will be a "find out now" button.

If you're not sure how this effects you, you should call your provider.

With all the work it takes to merge two huge systems like Alltel and Verizon, we're sure to see lots more announcements like these in the coming weeks and months!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Palm Pre: Real iPhone Competition?


Every phone manufacturer on the planet has been working overtime to compete with the iPhone since its launch, but few get it right. Let's face it: it's tough to compete with. Anyone that wants to compete needs to provide not just the cool functions the iPhone offers but something "extra" to make it stand out.

Enter the Palm Pre. This upcoming device by Palm offers way more than you'd expect from an iPhone alternative, not least of which being a full slide-out QWERTY keypad. Smartphone fanatics who've been hesitant to make the leap to the virtual QWERTY you have to use on most touch screen phones will love being able to type on a REAL keyboard without sacrificing the functionality and fun that a touch screen allows. It adds a bit of bulk depth-wise, but at 4.76 ounces it won't weigh down your pocket (to compare, the iPhone 3G weighs just slightly less: 4.7oz). It also runs on EVDO Rev-A, meaning you'll be able to connect at higher speeds in more locations - AND, you can use it as a modem (AKA "tethering")! We are hopeful that it will be compatible with the Cradlepoint routers to let people take full advantage of this detail.

What about the performance? Palm has made HUGE improvements for the Pre as compared to previous Palm devices. To start, it runs on Palm's well-received and much-anticipated new webOS - think full integration of all your online contacts, seamless transitions from instant messaging on your PC to your Pre, and universal search functions. The browser is also improved - forget about the old Blazer browser you saw in the older Palms; you'll be zooming and scrolling in both landscape and portrait modes. Finally, the powerful TI OMAP CPU ensures a smooth experience whether you're emailing, browsing, or opening a Word doc.

Of course, it's also got the "fun" factor. The Pre has great media capabilities (see full list of supported audio/video formats on EVDOinfo) and 8GB of built-in storage (sadly, there is NO memory card slot! Perhaps a future model will offer that?). There is even support for applications.

We have to wait until Springtime to see if the Pre lives up to the hype, but the full keyboard and Rev-A capabilities have us excited already. If it is compatible with 3G routers and has a port to add an external antenna, we'll REALLY be jazzed!

Key features:
  • EVDO Rev-A
  • Tether-capable
  • 3.0 megapixel camera
  • WiFi
  • 8GB of internal storage
  • Full slide-out QWERTY keypad

Check out the full list of features on EVDOinfo

Friday, January 09, 2009

Wilson Introduces the iBooster for iPhone and Blackberry


Anyone that uses a cell phone or data card has surely felt the frustration of signal weakness at least occasionally. Mobile users in particular can have trouble, as you drive through dead spots on the highway during a road trip or wind up in an RV campsite that's surrounded by too many hills.

So what can you do to remedy the situation? Generally speaking, there are 2 options to improve your signal: an antenna or amplifier connected directly to the device (a direct connection will always provide the biggest boost), or a wireless repeater. If your phone didn't have an antenna port (most cell phones don't!), your only option was to invest in a wireless repeater system. While these setups can be very effective, they can also be pricey and the best ones require installation.

Enter the iBooster! Wilson, who manufactures many of the awesome antennas and amplifiers sold and supported by 3Gstore, has announced a new line of mobile products that will boost the signal to your iPhone or Blackberry (neither of which has an antenna port) without a lot of bulky equipment to install. The iBooster, which will come in models made specifically for the iPhone and Blackberry, is an all-in-one signal amplifier that comes with a magnetic mount antenna. The amplifier itself acts as a cradle for your phone - simply place your device in the phone-specific cradle, pop the antenna on the roof, and enjoy the boosted signal from Wilson's bi-directional Smart Technology® amplifier! The amp boosts both voice and data signals, so you'll benefit whether you're trying to avoid dropped calls or if you use your Blackberry in tether-mode.


The Wilson Electronics iBooster amplifier kit comes with everything you need:
  • All-in-one amplifier, charger and cradle combo
  • Outside vehicular magnet-mount antenna
  • Cigarette lighter power adapter
  • Installation guide
  • 30-day, money-back guarantee and limited one-year product warranty
You will have to use a hands-free device to use your phone while the it's in the cradle, of course (if you live in California or other areas with similar laws, hands-free headsets are required by law anyway!), but other than that this kit is about as compact and mobile as amplifiers get.

Wilson will be releasing the new iBoosters in Spring of 2009 at a suggested retail price of about $250.

Sierra Wireless 598U Rev. A EVDO 3G USB modem

Sprint 598U EVDO 3G USB modem by Sierra Wireless

3GStore.com is now shipping the brand new Sprint 598U USB EVDO Rev A Mobile Broadband modem by Sierra Wireless. This modem costs only $29.99 with a 2 year plan (plus there is a $50 mail in rebate, so you make $20).

Check out our 598U Review:
Sprint 598U -- First Impressions

The Sierra Wireless 598U has the following features:
The 598U DOES work with the latest firmware from CradlePoint for the MBR1000 & CTR500, the CTR350/PHS300 currently isn't supported, but there is a beta version that supports the 598U, so we expect complete support with the next official firmware release).

Related Links:

Ovation U760 Rev. A EVDO 3G USB Modem from Sprint

3Gstore.com is now shipping the Novatel Ovation U760 Rev. A EVDO 3G USB modem for Sprint. With 2yr contract, the U760 is $99.99 before a $50 Mail In rebate, so net cost is $49.99 (thats less than Sprint charges).

Check out our U760 Review!
Sprint U760: First Impressions


The Ovation U760 Micro Modem has the following features:
The U760 DOES work with the latest firmware from CradlePoint for the MBR1000 & CTR500, the CTR350/PHS300 currently isn't supported, but there is a beta version that supports the Ovation U760, so we expect complete support with the next official firmware release).

Related Links: