Monday, July 27, 2009

Cradlepoint CTR350 Router Now Just $99.99 at 3Gstore.com


Sharing your mobile broadband is now more affordable than ever! 3Gstore, your source for all things mobile broadband, is now selling the Cradlepoint CTR350 for just $99.99 (No Rebates, No Card Activation Required).

With the CTR350, you can easily share your mobile broadband connection (EVDO / HSDAP / 3G USB Data Card from Verizon, Sprint or AT&T) with multiple computers and WiFi-enabled devices. Simply attach your USB aircard or supported tethered phone/PDA and you can provide wireless internet access to your laptops, iPod Touch, gaming consoles, and more. It also features an ethernet port so that you can connect a device that doesn't have WiFi capabilities, such as a desktop computer, printer, or DVR.

The CTR350 is compatible with MANY mobile broadband devices and tether-capable phones - you can even attach your Novatel MiFi 2200 to it to extend the MiFi's wireless range and provide access to ethernet devices. You can view the full list of compatible devices here.

Click here to order the Cradlepoint CTR350 for $99.99!

If you are ordering your 3G Data Card with Service at the same time, purchase a CTR350 for only $64.99, plus get a $25 Mail-in Rebate - net cost is just $39.99 when you purchase with a card and 2 year contract at the same time!

With your purchase of the CTR350 from 3Gstore.com, you also get:
  • Expert Toll Free Tech Support (866-3GSTORE).
  • Free Tech Support via Email
  • 3Gstore.com Support CD (included free)

Related links:

Friday, July 24, 2009

CradlePoint Firmware 2.4.2 for CTR350/PHS300 Adds Support for MiFi 2200



The MiFi 2200 continues to be the hottest thing in mobile broadband, but it has serious limitations that have made it unattractive to some 'hard-core' users who need more versatility out of a router in a home or office setting. The MiFi's limited WiFi range, restrictions to five wireless clients, and lack of ethernet connections are all very annoying.

With the introduction of Firmware 2.4.2, many of the MiFi's shortcomings can now be overcome by tethering the MiFi to a CTR350 or PHS300

While attached to either Cradlepoint router:
  • more than five WiFi clients can be connected at greater distance to/from the router;
  • ethernet connections can be established (CTR350 only); and
  • the MiFi's internal battery is being charged.
Tethering the MiFi to either the CTR350 or PHS300 improves WiFi range as much as three times over that of the MiFi alone. (for even more range, firmware 1.6 allows tethering to the MBR1000 for as much as TEN times more WiFi range than the MiFi's built in radio allows for.)

With the release of 2.4.2 firmware, all Cradlepoint routers support all of the same devices. Of course, this will only last until the next official firmware release that adds support for newer devices.

Read more about Firmware 2.4.2 in the official release notes.
Buy a Cradlepoint from the Mobile BroadBand Experts @ 3GStore.com
Join the EVDOforums.com discussion on Firmware 2.4.2

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The EVDO Experts Give the Palm Pre a Whirl - and Return It


Sprint's latest attempt at competing with the seemingly un-beatable iPhone comes in the form of the Palm Pre, which aims to attract both iPhone and Blackberry fans with its full touch screen and slide-out QWERTY keypad. In addition to the intriguing combination of the touch screen and slide-out keypad, Sprint and Palm have also been heavily promoting the Pre's OS and app capabilities, hoping to set it apart from other PDAs on the market.

Reviews for the Pre have largely been positive thus far and demand has been steady, and the EVDO Experts at 3Gstore/EVDOinfo were just as excited about it as the rest of the community. We had high hopes for the Pre - particularly since it is a Rev-A model - but after using it for two weeks, we wound up returning it in favor of sticking with our Blackberry's and iPhones.

Why, you ask? That is an excellent question, as there is admittedly much to love about the Pre and in some ways it is indeed superior to other PDAs. Read on to find out what we loved, what we wished was different, and why we ultimately decided to forgo the Pre:

The good news - what we LIKED about the Palm Pre:
  • Size - the Pre is compact but not too tiny, and surprisingly the slide-out keyboard does not add much bulk.
  • Ease of use of the Web OS - Palm did a great job of making their new OS intuitive and user-friendly.
  • The ability to run more than one 3rd party application at a time is a HUGE plus and something the iPhone is really missing (on the iPhone you cannot run many apps "in the background" while using other functions of the phone or while using other apps - for example, if you have the MLB app running and are listening to audio of a baseball game, you can't toggle over to the mail app and leave the audio running. With the Pre, this is no problem.)
  • The Pre uses the concept of a deck of cards - i.e., you can "shuffle" between programs from the main screen - which is a great metaphor and makes using the phone very easy.
  • The ability to group contacts from all sorts of messaging platforms is a great organizational tool.
  • Physical keyboard - while the keyboard on the Pre didn't wow us (see more below), a physical QWERTY is simply much easier to use than a touch-input
  • The messaging dock at bottom of phone makes keeping track of E-mail, texts, and IM's a breeze.
  • Sprint Turn By Turn Navigation is built in and works great.
  • The Pre uses a cool Touchstone charging accessory (no cable - it's magnetic!)
With all that great stuff, how could this take a turn for the worse? Keep reading...

The bad news - what we DIDN'T like about the Palm Pre:
  • Screen size - the Pre's viewable screen is 1.72" x 2.58", considerably smaller than the iPhone 3G, whose viewable screen is about 1.94" x 2.91". It's not as tiny as the the screen on other Palm models, like the Centro, but it could stand to be a bit roomier.
  • The slide-out keypad is the only input option - there is no virtual QWERTY option on the screen. This is unfortunate because you have to slide out the keypad every time you want to type, which is occasionally inconvenient and sure to cause quick wear-and-tear.
  • Since the keypad slides out vertically and there is no virtual QWERTY, that also means that you can't type in landscape mode.
  • The calendar sync is not a true "push" - you have to push a button to sync your Google calendars (it won't update automatically).
  • Email browsing is surprisingly slow.
  • Web browsing was also slow - not the connection (Sprint's EVDO Rev-A network is capable of great speeds), but the program itself.
  • The contact program is missing some of the more detailed fields that we like on other phones, such as anniversary, spouses name, etc.
  • When using the touch screen, it was very difficult to confirm that the button has been pressed. Tapping the screen enables an animated effect to appear, but you would never really know what was just pressed most of the time. Getting used to the Pre's touch screen and determining what we were "clicking" proved frustrating and annoying.
  • While the multiple live apps functionality is great, there are minimal applications and developers for this new platform. That will certainly change in the future as more developers work with the OS, but for the time being the lack of available apps is a bit disappointing.
  • The keypad is very cramped and typing more than a few words on it simply is not enjoyable. After a few moments the user's hands and wrists began to ache and holding on to the phone while the keyboard is out is awkward and uncomfortable. The "feel" of the buttons is also quite different than what we're used to from most PDAs.
  • The Pre cannot record or edit video.
  • No tethering - while the Pre itself is technically capable of being used as a modem, Sprint will not allow you to add the necessary plans and features to use it as a modem!
Many of these "dislikes" are relatively minor - the contact fields, for example - but the cramped and uncomfortable keypad, small screen, and minimal app availability led our testers to return the Pre. All the positive points about the Pre are still valid and the Pre is in many ways a great phone, but in our opinion it didn't provide enough benefits over the iPhone or Blackberry Curve.

That said, we are hopeful for the future of the Pre and would venture to guess that as Palm continues to improve the OS and more apps become available, we'll be first in line to give it another try!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Cradlepoint releases Firmware 1.6 to support MiFi 2200


CradlePoint has released Firmware Version 1.6 that provides both the MBR1000 and the CTR500 with official support for both the Verizon and Sprint versions of the popular MIFI 2200.

The MiFi is the hottest thing in mobile broadband but its short 30ft WiFi range, maximum of five wireless clients, and complete lack of ethernet connections are serious limitiations that have made it unattractive to some 'hard-core' users who need more versatility out of a router in a home or office setting.

With the introduction of Firmware 1.6, many of the MiFi's shortcomings can now be overcome by tethering the MiFi to a CTR500 or MBR1000!

While attached to either Cradlepoint router:

  • more than five WiFi clients can be connected at greater distance to/from the router;
  • ethernet connections can be established;
  • load balancing with other cellular devices and/or WAN connections are possible; and
  • the MiFi's internal battery is being charged.

Tethering the MiFi to a CTR500 improves WiFi range as much as three times over that of the MiFi alone, and tethering to the MBR1000 allows for even more WiFi range to and from the router -- as much as TEN times more WiFi range than the MiFi's built in radio allows for.

In our opinion, the combination of the highly portable MiFi "on the road" and the superior range and versatility of the MBR1000 at home or office, will make the MBR1000 the "hottest MiFi accessory".

Own a MiFi and want to improve upon its usefulness? Get a Cradlepoint 3G router from the mobile broadband experts at http://3gstore.com

Have you been putting off your MiFi purchase because of limitations we mention above? Get a GREAT deal on a MiFi bundled with an MBR1000.

Related Links

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Verizon Wireless shutting down SMTP relay service


Verizon Wireless recently announced that after "careful analysis" they have decided to discontinue the SMTP relay service that allowed mobile customers to send email. The shutdown is scheduled for August 29, 2009.

While the article does provide a link to alternative services compiled by Verizon staff, we recommend the free Gmail webmail service to all our mobile broadband customers.

Information on how to set up gmail for SMTP can be found at this link.

Customers who have obtained their mobile broadband service through 3GStore.com can request our 'Gmail TipSheet' by emailing support@3gstore.com