Thursday, January 17, 2008

EV-DO live and kicking

Several years ago, Mac users wanting to use EV-DO modems had rely on third parties to provide support and drives. But this week’s Macworld Expo suggests that the demand for the Mac has gone mainstream enough to earn direct support from the two major US CDMA carriers.

Verizon Wireless was demonstrating three Novatel Wireless EV-DO (Rev A) modems: the USB720, the USB727 (which takes a microSD memory card), and ExpressCard V740. Sprint has the 727 (which it calls the "Ovation U727”) and a Sierra Wirless AirCard 595U. As the names suggest, all but the V740 are USB devices — which is good since the MacBook (and new MacBook Air) don’t have ExpressCard slots.

Sprint was demonst the PHS300S Wi-Fi hotspot by CradlePoint Technology. You stick one of their USB EV-DO cards into its port, and then you have a Wi-Fi device that supports 4 CPUs. The obvious application is a construction work site — or perhaps a trade show or street fair where you need credit card clearing. I could also see it used at a vacatio home, if you had a wired family that couldn’t get by without Internet coverage. — the original Mac third party support for such products — seems to be still acting as a reseller of these products, even if it’s no longer the only source. (Its website seems to be finicky, but its sister site 3Gstore is still alive).

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