Mobile USB modems are not new, and all of them generally require some software to start the cellular connection. But not the one Clear announced today.
The wireless carrier, known mostly for its unlimited 4G data plans, introduced the Stick Atlas, the first USB cellular modem on the market that doesn't require software at all.
The company says that the moment the device is plugged into a USB port, the computer will gain access to the Internet, much like when the computer is plugged into a network port. This feature actually was first available in Clear's latest mobile hot spot, the Clear Spot Voyager, when it's used as a modem instead of as a router.
According to Clear, the new USB modem measures just 1.2 inches wide by 3.25 inches high with a 0.6-inch diameter, and weighs only 1.1 ounces. It's available now and slated to cost $50 with unlimited data plans that start at $35 per month.
The Stick Atlas works with Windows (Vista/7), Mac OS X, Linux, Android, and Chrome OS. Check back soon for a hands-on test of the device. Note that it works only with 4G networks, meaning that out of Clear's 4G coverage, it's basically useless.