AT&T is finally ready to do something about the horrible reception that so many of us have been experiencing, as they are finally set to make the 3G Microcell available nationwide starting next month. The 3G Microcell is a femtocell unit that connects to your home broadband network. It acts pretty much like a mini cell phone tower, located in your home, and gives you five bars of coverage within 5,000 feet. Since it connects to your broadband network, it uses that to send and receive voice and data. It works with any AT&T 3G phone, and supports up to four voice or data users at one time. Only phones that you specifically allow to use your Microcell can benefit from it, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbors stealing your 3G signal. You can grant access to the device to up to a total of 10 lines.
The 3G Microcell will cost $149.99, but there will be a $100 mail-in rebate. So that is a $50 one-time cost to get a perfect AT&T 3G signal in your home. Yeah, it’s AT&T’s job to make sure all that happens anyway, but realistically, they don’t. That said, we think this is a nice value. No monthly fees to use the device, unless you want to subscribe to an Unlimited Microcell Calling plan, which basically lets you use the Microcell as much as you’d like, without affecting your calling minutes.
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Over at CTIA, Sprint just dropped the big announcement that we knew was coming, they will be launching the first 4G smartphone - the HTC EVO 4G - and they will be doing it “this summer.” The EVO 4G runs Android 2.1, and has a gorgeous 480x800 4.3-inch TFT LCD display and is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon QSD8650 processor and 512MB of RAM. Onboard memory isn’t much to write home about at 1GB, but seriously, that is the only “flaw” we can find with the initial look at this device, if you want to even call it that. I mean, it ships with an 8GB microSD card, and is upgradeable to 32GB. Still, built-in is always nice.
Wanna talk about some of the more exciting stuff? Well, we’ve got an 8 megapixel camera on the back, which can shoot 720p HD video, as well as a 1.3 megapixel front facing camera. You know, the one we’ve been waiting for on the iPhone? Expect to be able to do video chatting on the EVO 4G. Also, expect to be able to view the content stored on it on a larger display, since this thing rocks HDMI out. 802.11b/g Wi-Fi support and an 8GB microSD card round things out, so as you can see, this thing is packed. Oh, and let’s not forget that whole 4G thing.
The HTC EVO 4G will be the first device outside of AT&T that will allow for both voice and data to be used at the same time, thanks to the phone running both EV-DO Rev. A and WiMAX alongside a CDMA antenna. Even cooler, in our opinion, is that this device acts similar to a MiFi or Overdrive device, where it becomes a mobile hotspot that allows you to share your 4G connection with your other devices wirelessly. However, rather than being limited to five connections, the EVO 4G can give that good 4G Internet lovin’ to 8 devices at once.
Sprint knows that those picking up a 4G device are going to expect a lot more from their connection their phones that are stuck on 3G, and they demo’d a few scenarios to show that they are serious. You can stream high definition content to and from the device, take pictures and stream them anywhere, get instant and live search results with Google Goggles, and much more.
Despite the torrent of info that Sprint provided as it pertained to the HTC EVO 4G, they did neglect to provide a solid release date, as well as the price of both the EVO 4G itself, or the associated 4G data plan.