It may have taken a surprisingly long time to come to market but finally we have the first Vodafone 3G Mobile Connect Card to work over USB.
Confusingly given the same ‘3G Mobile Connect Broadband Datacard’ name as its PC Card equivalent, the new device will be a boon for MacBook and MacBook Pro owners whose ExpressCard 34 slots were incompatible with the existing format.
John Lillistone, Head Honcho of Vodafone Enterprise Data Services, put out a thinly veiled statement confirming Apple’s newbies were the motivation behind the move. “The Vodafone Mobile Connect USB Modem is designed so that anyone, regardless of their choice of computer, can access high speed data while on the move.” Did you detect a sneer in his choice of words there? It seemed like a sneer to me…
Anyway, as expected, HSDPA support is inbuilt into the new USBers providing users with real world download data rates of up to 1.4Mbps (the theoretical top end is 1.8Mbps) and an upload limit of 384Kbps. Users inside the M25 and in the major metropolitan areas of Bristol, Glasgow, Greater Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Tyneside (come on Duffer!) and the West Midlands are all set to benefit.
A rather vague release time frame of ‘autumn’ has been put on the product and though no hardware cost or price plans were revealed I see no reason why they should greatly divert from the existing PC Card based schemes.
Naturally we can expect the likes of T-Mobile, Orange and O2 to quickly follow in Vodafone’s footsteps though it confuses me why we’ve had to wait nearly two years for such a convenient alternative format in the first place? After all, it’s not like USB is popular or anything…!?!