Upgraded MiFi Pocket Hotspot Comes To Europe

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Share a broadband link with up to five devices – without any set-up

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The MiFi pocket hotspot, a device that lets users share a 3G connection between up to five Wi-Fi devices is now available from Telefonica in Spain. Europe is getting an upgrade from the original device launched in the US this year, and other distributors in Europe will have it later this year.

The MiFi 2352, a slim phone-sized pocket device which contains a Wif-Fi access point and a 3G uplink, is being offered by Telefonica on contracts between €29 and €59 a month, under the Movistar brand. Made by Novatel, a provider of 3G dongles, it will be used as a shareable 3G modem. As well as supporting European mobile broadband up to 7.22 Mbps HSDPA, it also includes an ARM processor running Linux and up to 16GB of memory, including a microSD card – and GPS.

A version of the MiFi, the 2200, is already available from Verizon and Sprint in the US, but Novatel is launching a higher specification machine in Europe, with a MicroSD card and an onboard Linux system running on a 900MHz Arm 11 processor.

“We’re planning to have applications and personalised content,” said Rob Hadley, chief marketing officer of Novatel Wireless. The device duplicates functions that are available on phones equipped with Wi-Fi, he conceded (they can share a broadband connection using software such as Joikuspot), but MiFi does it without any set-up, and does not interrupt the use of a phone for normal voice and text applications. “Phones are optimised for voice and have a poor battery life in this mode,” said Hadley.

MiFi has a four hour battery life in use, and 40 hours f standby, said Hadley. In use, it might share a broadband connection between members of a family on a car journey, or between a group of workers at a conference. The Wi-Fi connection can be secured with WPA2 or WEP.

Novatel hopes to sell MiFi through other operators, as well as through online stores,

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