Sure, we were the first site to point out that the old 2G iPhone could sip Wi-Fi from a 3G phone. People laughed… until they tried it.
Then, we were the first to show how the iPod touch could replace your iPhone using the same trickery… saving you hundreds each year. People didn’t laugh that time around.
But, Novatel hopes that you won’t figure out how to sling Wi-Fi from your cell phone. Instead, they want you to buy a Mi-Fi. It’s a Wi-Fi router that fits in your pocket, packing an EV-DO radio and a battery to keep it powered. Plus, with a DC adapter, you can leave it charging in your car, and stick it in your pocket when you want Wi-Fi outside of the car.
And, we have to admit, it has us interested… but for the unnecessary extra $60/month in mobile broadband costs.
Our advice to Novatel: You’ve made the perfect hardware, now get the business model down. Convince carriers that the Mi-Fi should cost less than a typical mobile broadband card. It’s pretty much un-questioned on the staff that anything above $40/month, and the tech-savvy will stick with their Wi-Fi-routing PDAs. But, really, until you get it down to $30/month (which is what AT&T charges for a data-only PDA plan), you’re not going to get those folks… especially in this economy.
Still, My-Fi could have a huge niche in the not-so-tech-savvy… and with car manufacturers that want a value-added approach, with few strings attached.