LAS VEGAS--On the eve of CES, Sprint announced its Overdrive 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot, a 4.5-ounce device measuring 3.15 by 3.14 inches by .61 inch that creates its own Wi-Fi hot spot.
The Overdrive can serve up to five Wi-Fi-enabled devices with a range of about 150 feet. I'm using it now with my laptop, an iPhone, and the new HTC Nexus One smartphone, which runs Google's Android operating system and supports Wi-Fi connectivity.
The device, which is manufactured in an unlocked state, can support Sprint's 3G and 4G networks. 3G connectivity, which supports speeds up to 3 megabits per second, is available in most parts of the United States. Typically, 3G runs between .5Mbps and 1.5Mbps.
Sprint's 4G network, which, in theory, can operate at up to 10Mbps, is currently available in 27 markets, including here, but it is slated to be rolled out to several more markets this year. By the end of 2010, Sprint says its 4G network will reach as many as 120 million people in the country.
At CES, I spoke with Steve Elfman, Sprint's president of network operations and wholesale, who described the device and how the company plans to roll it out in 2010.
Correction, 1:23 p.m.: This post mischaracterized how widespread Sprint's 4G network is slated to become this year. It is expected to be rolled out to several U.S. markets beyond its current 27.
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