Clear has suddenly discontinued its most popular product in the iSpot, five months after being first introduced as a way to entice owners of Apple’s device lineup (iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad as well as select Macbook models) to purchase WiMax hardware and service as an alternative to more expensive and capped monthly 3G service.
While Clear reps have stayed silent on the reasons for the discontinuation of the iSpot, the reason for its sudden elimination from the lineup may have more to do with the rise of iSpot hacking and the threat of custom firmware allowing other non-Apple devices to utilize the cheaper than standard service rather than any reported issues with firmware and hardware.
As the iSpot was intended solely for Apple devices, the mobile router was preloaded specifically with the MAC address ranges of the aforementioned Apple hardware in order to ensure that the $25 monthly rate for unlimited access was only used on those devices.
Not long after its release, enterprising developers figured out how to “jailbreak” the iSpot in order to allow any Wi-Fi enabled device to connect to the mobile router regardless of origin and still take advantage of the $25 monthly rate for unlimited access without an agreement required.
In retaliation, Clear released a series of firmware updates and updated hardware revisions of the iSpot designed to thwart jailbreaking and unauthorized device access, ultimately to no avail, as the latest iSpot jailbreak functions across all hardware revisions and software versions of the iSpot.
Now with the elimination of the iSpot, the closest alternative is the prepaid Rover service also offered by Clear, albeit at an additional $25 premium from the iSpot rate. Clear has responded to the inquiries for iSpot hardware by telling interested customers to check local dealers for clearance stock.