Clearwire Corp. has a vision for 4G mobile broadband, which includes a legion of connected devices like cameras and gamers to spark subscription uptake and a consumer thirst for ongoing innovation. Since creating WiMAX gadgets from scratch will take a bit of time, Clearwire has a plan to let existing Wi-Fi devices connect to the WiMAX network in the meantime.
The CLEAR Spot Personal Hotspot is a $139 accessory that enables standard Wi-Fi products to connect to the Internet at 4mbps, via the company’s CLEAR mobile WiMAX service.
The CLEAR Spot creates a personal Wi-Fi hotspot that travels with consumers. Manufactured by CradlePoint Technology, it’s a portable, battery-powered router that users plugtheir CLEAR USB Modem into, to be able to seamlessly connect up to eight Wi-Fi devices to the Internet via CLEAR’s mobile WiMAX network. It works with any existing, off-the-shelf 802.11b/g Wi-Fi device.
What does that mean beyond enabling faster photo downloads and multiplayer gaming? For one, hot smartphones like iPhones, BlackBerries, Windows Mobile phones, the Google Android G1 and the upcoming Palm Pre can connect to the Internet at speeds several times faster than their phones’ embedded 3G technology, without having to find a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Another example for families is the fact that one CLEAR Spot device plugged into the family minivan’s power adapter can let one child use Google to research a homework assignment on a netbook, while another plays video games, and a third watches Hulu while checking on friends through Google Latitude on a laptop.
“With CLEAR Spot, we’ve combined the speed and mobility of our 4G service with the ubiquity of Wi-Fi to create the best possible broadband experience for our customers,” said Scott Richardson, chief strategy officer for Clearwire. “While many CE devices will eventually include embedded WiMAX technology, our customers can now easily use their existing Wi-Fi-enabled phones, cameras, game systems, or laptops in compelling new ways. Since CLEAR is a true broadband Internet service, which just happens to be delivered wirelessly, we actually welcome the use of heavy bandwidth data applications that conventional 3G network operators may discourage or simply can’t support. In fact, we encourage our customers to use their Wi-Fi-enabled smart phones, or other CE devices, on our open network to receive better Internet connections.”
CLEAR’s mobile Internet plans do not require long term service contracts and can be purchased by the day for $10, or by the month, starting at $30 per month.