Novatel Wireless Mobile Hotspot Hardware Review

Novatel Wireless Mobile Hotspot Hardware Review

Aug 31, 2015

It’s all about the connectivity.

You can pack as many devices and peripherals as you can handle, but without a connection to the World Wide Web, you’re only s good as the information on hand… and what fun is that?

Nah. We need to get online, and even on wi-fi only smartdevices, a secure connection away from home base is beneficial. And, as we like to muse, being restricted to using insecure public networks has its drawbacks.

And then we have solutions like the Novatel Wireless Verizon Jetpack Mifi. It’s a small mobile wireless hotspot, capable of connecting to up to 15 devices on the go, using cellular networks to spit out 4G speeds.

The review unit Novatel sent us contained the puck, power adapter, USB cable and paperwork. At 2.6 x 3.7 x 0.76 inches and under 5 oz, it’s pretty compact, mostly black and red with white lettering plus a prominent screen and navigation buttons. It has ports for micro-USB charging port, a USB port and a 4,000 mAh li-ion Battery user serviceable battery.

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After an obligatory charge, it’s nice to know the unit is ready to go. The screen is bright, and connecting devices to it is intuitive to anyone who’s ever connected to a wi-fi network. The navigation buttons allow one to scroll through pertinent information.

Now, hooking into Verizon’s network definitely has its benefits; on the road and moving across states, a good connection was mostly maintained on the major highways, though there were dead spots on some remote rural rural routes and the occasional hand-off stuttering between towers. It worked well with eight devices connected simultaneously, allowing for each to stream videos, play connected games and such. Downloads of data did seem faster with less devices connected, but overall, the speeds were pretty fast, especially in metro areas.

Using it as a stationary hotspot was pretty impressive when a connection was established. Connection quality remained consistent, and re-connecting was mostly automatic when toggled to do so from the device. The access control is easy to manage and works well. The ability to toss it one;s bag (or even pocket) is invaluable. The battery life is better than decent, and the device charging ability adds another layer of built-in functionality.

It’s one of the better solutions we’ve tried; it merges great hardware with consistent service in such a way that it feels like an easy addition to one;s mobile workflow versus an unneeded extravagance. Forgive us for saying it again, but Verizon’s network is a huge advantage that adds to its overall charm.

Ustream Update Brings Special Features For Verizon Customers

Ustream Update Brings Special Features For Verizon Customers

Feb 28, 2014

Ustream 3

Ustream is an app that lets anyone broadcast live feed from their device to anyone. The new update brings some special features. If you have a Verizon Wireless subscription then you get a special, Verizon branded channel with the following bonus features: private casting, no ads for up to seven watchers, 720p broadcasting resolution, and friend notification. Ustream can be downloaded for free from here: Ustream on Google Play.

Droid Combat – Mission Alpha Has Players Shooting Missiles and Pictures

Droid Combat – Mission Alpha Has Players Shooting Missiles and Pictures

Jun 24, 2013

Droid Combat – Mission Alpha is a augmented reality combat game from Verizon Wireless and MunkyFun. In the game, players control mech wARriors and fight friends in three battle arenas while firing missiles and deflecting oncoming ordnance with lasers. Outside of gameplay, players can use AR to take photos of their wARriors and have a chance to win a prize as Verizon is hosting a contest for the best photos. Now go get creative with your wARriors!

Verizon Cloud Now Covers The Droid DNA and Galaxy S 4 Phones

Verizon Cloud Now Covers The Droid DNA and Galaxy S 4 Phones

May 29, 2013

Verizon Cloud has expanded is coverage and now includes more Android devices, such as the Droid DNA and Galaxy S 4. Engadget reported that when Verizon Cloud launched last month, only backing up a small number of Android devices, that it wasn’t quite what the carrier had in mind when it came to their cross-platform plans.

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The Hills Are Greener: You Down With LTE? Google Says No.

The Hills Are Greener: You Down With LTE? Google Says No.

Nov 5, 2012

The Nexus 4 has one glaring omission from its otherwise-impressive list of specs: no LTE. After all, the iPhone 5 has it, so why shouldn’t Google’s flagship Nexus phone have it, especially after the iPhone 5, which arrives fashionably late to cellular network technology, had already made the jump? Well, blame the current state of the carriers in the US.

Thanks to the CDMA and GSM protocols, and the different frequencies that even GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile use, interoperability is difficult to cram into one phone model. LTE makes it even harder with many new frequencies to communicate on for each carrier. There’s no LTE equivalent for something like the iPhone, which supports the 1900 Mhz GSM band, to work on T-Mobile, for example. The best way to get LTE support is to work with the carriers, which Google is largely opposed to after bad experiences with Verizon and Sprint with the LTE-enabled Galaxy Nexus. They want to release new versions of Android immediately; the carriers want them tested and probably don’t even want phones to really be updated for too long, after all, if someone is satisfied with their current phone, what reason will they have to buy a new one?

The US market is just not used to unlocked phones yet, in part because Sprint and Verizon make it difficult to use said phones on their network, and the 2-year-contract model is a stopping point on GSM networks. T-Mobile, however, is likely a big driver of this phone. After all, the beauty of buying a phone unlocked is that it can be used on cheaper pre-paid plans, and T-Mobile has some of the most exhaustive pre-paid options, including the fabled $30 plan that offers only 100 minutes, but unlimited messaging and 5 GB of 4G data. That will likely be a big seller for the Nexus 4.

Of course, they’re selling it as a contracted option as well, at $199 on a 2-year agreement, which is silly considering the phone is $349 unlocked! However, for those looking to buy it with HSPA+ 42 on T-Mobile, that’s the only option, is to go directly through them. Why they’re not selling the phone as a driver for their prepaid plans, the only real reason for T-Mobile to still exist at this point, is unknown.

Now, is the lack of LTE something that Google should get a free pass on? No, it is a lacking feature considering that it’s becoming standard in high-end phones. But Google’s doing something different here. They’re selling a phone directly to consumers for $349, no contract. This is something that hasn’t really been tried with a flagship smartphone. If the market is going to change to be more friendly to unlocked phones, there first needs to be a demand for them, and that appears to be what Google is doing with the Nexus 4. LTE and CDMA appear to be the sacrifices to make this sea change happen.

Color’s Future Gets Brighter with Verizon Deal

Color’s Future Gets Brighter with Verizon Deal

May 8, 2012

Color, an app by a startup from Bill Nguyen, may have been well-known for their initial crash and burn on iOS. The app was initially designed to share photos to users within a short distance. Privacy issues helped to sink it, but it came back with a new incarnation: sharing of photos and short live video clips from a phone, all linked through Facebook. The relaunch appears to be picking up steam, as now Color has partnered up with Verizon to bring an enhanced version of the app to their phones.

The app will now come preinstalled on Verizon phones (remember, there’s always the ability to freeze preinstalled apps on Ice Cream Sandwich) and will boast higher quality video streaming from Verizon phones over LTE.

While Color has only had approximately one million users so far, Bill Nguyen’s startups can’t be counted out, as he has sold a one of his startups, the music streaming service Lala, to Apple, which may now be part of Apple’s iTunes Match service. This could be a big step in the rise of Color from the ashes it quickly found itself covered in.

Gameloft Brings Online Multiplayer with Voice Chat to Verizon 4G LTE

Gameloft Brings Online Multiplayer with Voice Chat to Verizon 4G LTE

Jan 24, 2012

Fans of Gameloft’s online multiplayer games may soon be getting a chance to talk some smack to their distant opponents thanks to 4G LTE. Gameloft and Verizon will be offering voice chat in Asphalt 6: Adrenaline. According to Baudoin Corman, Gameloft’s Vice President of Publishing, “We are thrilled to be partnering with Verizon to illustrate the potential of in-game voice chat and multiplayer over the 4G LTE network. Gameloft seeks to provide gamers with a complete mobile gaming experience and feels that these features are at the forefront of the platform’s future.”

4G LTE’s benefits for gaming are well-known: OnLive in particular has touted 4G LTE’s low latency connections as what allows them to offer the service to mobile users not on wifi; the improved bandwidth and latency conditions should be ahelp with making these games work more smoothly. Voice chat is something that has existed on iOS through Game Center but not frequently used (one iOS developer I’ve spoken to says that it’s actually something implementable with a few lines of code, which makes it odd that it isn’t implemented as an option) so having it on Android should be a boon to mobile competitive gamers. Just remember that “kill him! kill him!” and shouting expletives in a crowded space is a way for people to get really scared, really quickly.

Source: Droid-Life

Verizon to Introduce Awfully Inconvenient “Convenience Fee” in January

Verizon to Introduce Awfully Inconvenient “Convenience Fee” in January

Dec 30, 2011

In a move torn straight from the pages of Kafka, though I doubt he had any idea about cellular phones, Verizon has introduced a baffling new fee for their customers. Starting January 15th, customers who pay online will now have to pay a $2 “convenience fee” on their bill. This is silly for two distinct reasons – first, the idea that users should have to pay extra for the convenience of paying their bill. Does this mean that their default expectation should be to be inconvenienced? Have users who felt like they were not being inconvenienced now be pleased, or angry that they will now be convenienced?

The other silly thing? Well, payments by mail will not have to pay this fee. That seems like it would be more inconvenient than web-based payments, but apparently not. Auto-billing doesn’t have to pay the fees, but then that means that bills can’t be reviewed before being paid.

Source: Engadget

Madden NFL 12 Free on Verizon VCAST Apps October 1st-3rd

Madden NFL 12 Free on Verizon VCAST Apps October 1st-3rd

Sep 30, 2011

Weekend time is football time. That might be why Americans love the sport so much. Americans also like free stuff, and Americans who like free stuff and football are in luck, if they’re Verizon subscribers. This weekend, going through Monday, Madden NFL 12 from EA Sports is available for free from Verizon VCAST Apps.. This is a full-fledged 3D Madden NFL game, replete with season and playoff modes for long-term play, and advanced control options available such as Action Control Time and Total Defensive Control. The game will be free starting on Saturday, October 1st, so Verizon owners may want to check this out. The game is available either by downloading it from VCAST Apps on selected devices, or by calling **MADDEN from a Verizon phone to download. While the game does support tablets and devices on 2.1, the phones officially supported by the update are the Incredible 2.2, Vortex 2.2, Continuum , Thunderbolt 2.2, Droid Pro 2.2, Fascinate 2.2, Incredible 2 2.2, Command, DROID Charge, Revolution 2.2, Droid X2 2.2, and Droid X2.3, so owners of devices not on that list may not be part of this offer. If it works, then leave us a note in the comments!

Samsung’s Galaxy S II is Coming to the US, at Last. Here Are 5 Things to Know.

Samsung’s Galaxy S II is Coming to the US, at Last. Here Are 5 Things to Know.

Aug 31, 2011

The Samsung Galaxy S II has been out in Europe for months now, but the US is about to finally get their hands on the smartphone that has been a big seller across the pond. Here are 5 important things to know about the Galaxy S II’s launch in the US:

  • All 3 phones share similar hardware specs: 8MP rear camera with flash and 1080p video recording, 2MP front camera, 16GB memory, gyroscope, HDMI adapter support, and the Samsung Exynos dual-core 1.2GHz processor. On the software side, the phone runs Gingerbread, comes with the TouchWiz launcher, Samsung Media Hub, Samsung’s Task Manager, an easy screen capture feature by pressing power and home simultaneously (amen!), and a voice command feature called Voice Talk.
  • All of the US Galaxy S phones will be classified as “4G” phones, though the actual connection speeds will be defined by whatever the carrier defines 4G as.
  • Unlike the last generation of Galaxy S phones in the US, the phone will actually be called the Galaxy S on AT&T and T-Mobile. The Sprint variant will be called the Epic 4G Touch, and will be the first Galaxy S II phone available in the US, starting September 16th. The other carriers’ phones should be available this fall.
  • Notably missing from that list of carriers is the other major carrier in the US, Verizon. There is no word on if or when they will be offering the Galaxy S II, but this hurts Samsung’s presence in the US with making the Galaxy S line universally available, one of the strengths of the first-generation Galaxy S phones. TheDroidGuy points out that this may be because Verizon classifies LTE as 4G, and there’s no LTE-capable Galaxy S II model yet.
  • The phones all share the same 800×480 AMOLED screen, though T-Mobile and Sprint are using a 4.5″ screen. AT&T’s going slightly smaller, with a 4.3″ screen that is the same as the international variant, and the battery they’re using is 1650 mAh versus T-Mobile and Sprint’s 1800 mAh batteries. This will also make the AT&T phone thinner, though.
  • Source: Engadget

    Verizon launches VZ Navigator VX Navigation Service

    Verizon launches VZ Navigator VX Navigation Service

    Jul 29, 2011

    Verizon users can now access a new navigation feature through their phones, as the nation’s largest mobile carrier has launched VZ Navigator VX. This new navigation service offers not just standard mapping and navigation services, it also offers other features to improve navigation. “Smart Routes” with real-time route updates (updating every 60 seconds) will offer detours and notifying of upcoming traffic. This service also offers turn by turn voice directions, that will also work while the app is running in the background. The app also claims to offer real road signs and road views, so users will know of things like upcoming lane changes, which will help with the app’s navigation services. As well, users can share their location with their Facebook friends as well as users of My Place. VZ Navigator VX is available now for Verizon users, with a 30 day trial available, and the service is available for $9.99/month. VZ Navigator VX can be downloaded by visiting this website, or by scanning this QR code below.

    Rdio Coming to Verizon V CAST Apps with Carrier Billing

    Rdio Coming to Verizon V CAST Apps with Carrier Billing

    May 4, 2011

    Rdio, the subscription music streaming service, is coming to Verizon’s V CAST Apps on Android. The app, which allows users to stream and download unlimited amounts of music on a subscription basis from the web, is getting direct carrier billing to Verizon customers, so customers can just pay for the service with their monthly phone bill automatically, eschewing the hassle of having to share credit card information directly.

    Considering that carriers like Verizon once tried to launch their own methods of selling mobile music in the past, this is just another nail in the coffin of carrier control over users’ phones and where they get the content on those phones from. While this is still coming to a carrier-specific App Store, and the app will still be available through other app stores, this just shows how the carriers are changing when it comes to mobile music – where they once sought to take a piece of the pie, they are now willing to support others’ services. However, granted that this is coming to Verizon’s own app marketplace, this may be the new battleground for carriers to try and use to their advantage.