They laughed when you bought that fancy new laptop with an ExpressCard slot, they scoffed when you "gave into the man" and signed up for Cingular, and they've been waving that PCMCIA EV-DO card of theirs in your face for what seems like an eternity now, but your vindication is finally nigh! Novatel just announced that their Merlin XU870 HSDPA ExpressCard, the first of its kind, is now shipping. The card can manage HSDPA, UMTS, EDGE and GPRS, both here and abroad, and while it currently tops off at 3.6Mbps, a forthcoming software update will bump that to 7.2Mbps once the carriers are ready. Apparently this thing has already started to ship to leading carriers in Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and New Zealand, and while we're not exactly sure when you'll be able to grab this thing off the shelf of your neighborhood electronics shop in the States, the XU870 is official, legit, "shipping," and all that good stuff, so we're going have a party all the same. Who's bringing the chips?

[Via laptoping]