Sprint launches Novatel MiFi 3G / 4G mobile hotspot

This one's been floating around since way back in December, but Novatel's new 3G / 4G MiFi is now finally available from Sprint -- albeit only via direct ship, Sprint retail channels will get it on April 17th. It will run you $79.99 on a two-year contract, and comes packing Novatel's rather novel MiFi OS, which is actually a stripped-down version of Linux that lets you take advantage of various widgets and applications. It's also GPS enabled, and has a microSD card slot that allows for up to 32GB of shared storage. Full press release is after the break, and you can check out a few early reviews of the device at the more coverage links below.

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MiFi® 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Novatel Wireless Now Available at Sprint

With the ultra-compact award-winning MiFi® 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot by Novatel Wireless, Sprint brings customers the portability of the MiFi design with one-touch connectivity for up to five Wi-Fi enabled devices, including tablets, eReaders, laptops or gaming consoles. MiFi 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot easily supports all the needs of a family household, a frequent traveler who wants to avoid Wi-Fi charges, or even a small business team with a form factor about the size of a credit card.

Sprint is the first carrier to launch a 4G MiFi Intelligent Mobile Hotspot preloaded with MiFi OS™, widgets and application support, adding capabilities beyond just pure Internet connectivity and ensuring customers a reliable device that can easily be upgraded with the newest widgets and applications.

Its predecessor, the MiFi 2200 by Novatel Wireless, was the industry's first and leading 3G Intelligent Mobile Hotspot. This version with 4G accessibility offers download speeds that are up to 10 times faster than 3G service.1 It also features an intuitive external display with status indicators for battery, signal strength, GPS, roaming and number of connected devices as well as improved battery life and shared storage capability through a microSD™ slot for up to a 32GB memory card. It supports Windows, Macintosh and Linux operating systems.

As the 17th 4G-capable device announced from Sprint, MiFi 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot will cost $79.99 (excluding taxes) on a new two-year service agreement (or eligible upgrade). Starting on April 3 the device became available via Direct Ship, and will be available at all Sprint retail channels, including and 1-800-Sprint1 starting on April 17.

MiFi 3G/4G Mobile Hotspot requires activation on a Sprint 3G/4G Mobile Broadband Plan starting as low as $49.99 per month.2 The device can be used on both the Sprint 3G and 4G networks. This flexibility allows customers to enjoy 4G performance in any of the 71 Sprint 4G markets or to use Sprint's reliable, nationwide 3G network.

Additional features:

* GPS-enabled
* WiFi Protected Setup enabled
* No software installation required, just plug in and connect
* Browser user interface for configuration
* Datalink 3G/4G
* Battery: 1500mAh – Over 4 hours of usage; 60 hours of standby time
* 4G data speeds (WiMAX) – Peak download speeds of more than 10 Mbps; average download speeds of 3-6 Mbps
* 3G data speeds (EV-DO Rev. A) – Peak download speeds of up to 3.1 Mbps; peak upload speeds of 1.8 Mbps; average download speeds of 600 kbps-1.4 Mbps.
* Compatibility: Wi-Fi, Windows®, MAC OS® X, Linux®
* Weight: 85 grams with battery (3 oz.)
* Antenna: Integrated Wi-Fi and GPS antenna
* Wireless Connectivity: 802.11b/g/n

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[1] Up to 10x faster claim: Based on download speed comparison of Sprint 3G average speeds (600 kbps -1.4 Mbps) vs. Sprint 4G average speeds (3-6 Mbps). Actual speeds may vary by plan or based on other factors.

2 Sprint 3G/4G Mobile Broadband Plan includes unlimited 4G use and 5 GB of 3G use (300MB domestic roaming/off-network limit for 3G; additional MB: $0.05/MB for on-network usage, $0.25/MB for off-network usage). $49.99 price reflects a $10 discount off the standard national mobile broadband plan and requires the Sprint subscriber also have an eligible voice plan on their Sprint handset.