04
Feb
2013-02-04_16h51_30

Wi-Fi-only tablets are pretty popular and for good reason. No one wants to pay for a second data plan just for their slate, and the hardware is cheaper if you get it without 3G/4G radios anyway. Seems like a win. Until you get out of your house and curse your disconnected device and its inability to Google Jeff Goldblum's height at the drop of a hat. Enter FreedomPop.

The service may not be new, but it is novel: 500MB of free data per month. That's it. The end. No strings. Oh, sure, there are overage fees. And you can pay to get more if you really want to. However, for the cost of a hotspot you can get a modicum of mobile data without the contract. It's a neat idea!

'But Eric,' I hear you cry. 'What if I want to take advantage of this great free service and attach a big ugly piece of hardware to my tablet?' I'm glad you asked, friend! Because FreedomPop—or perhaps more accurately, an image leaked on Forbes that allegedly comes from said company—has you covered! According to this report (which reads like an official announcement, though the information was apparently only disseminated to Forbes, which means this is a leak at best), the freemium carrier plans to release a new hotspot that attaches to the edge of your gorgeous Nexus 7, sullying an otherwise beautiful device like a singing scottish boil. It looks like this:

tabletclip

Yes, that is as big as we can make the image. To be honest, we're kind of hoping that this thing is fake because, while the concept behind FreedomPop is certainly great, a wireless hotspot has no need to be physically attached to a tablet. It looks weird, bulky, and the clip just adds moving parts that serve as little more than additional points of failure. The crazy thing is, if it were to break, you could just stick it in your pocket and it would still function like the other wireless hotspots the company sells. Of course, if this is cheaper than that model (which is "free" with a $99 deposit), then perhaps that's more of a selling point, however that was the one detail Forbes managed to leave out.

Still, setting aside the oddity of this clip (which, hey! Some people might like!), FreedomPop is certainly a service worth paying attention to. The company piggy backs off Sprint's 4G networks (yes, both of them) and all the coverage that entails. The Now Network still lags pretty far behind Verizon and AT&T in LTE coverage, but third isn't bad. Especially when you're paying the low cost of nothing for the data.

Source: Forbes

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://twitter.com/cezeOne cezeOne

    I considered them once or twice but I would be throwing money away since my job pays for hotspot on my work phone.

  • alex2aii

    Well I'm happy to hear they're closer to an LTE device. I don't want to purchase a mobile hotspot and then argue with the company for the security deposit when I switch from a WiiMax device to an LTE device. Fortunately I live in San Antonio where we're blessed with coverage from the major telecom companies, often ahead of other major cities. Hopefully the LTE device will be smaller than this rumored attachment.

  • Jdoe

    I'm using FreedomPop right now. Their wireless hotspot modem is pretty tiny. Roughly 2/3rd the size of iphone. You can choose which device you want. Don't have to be stuck with a funky looking clip.

    I signed up last month and they gave an extra 1gb monthly limit for free. So 1.5gb per month is not too shabby. I figure if they stay in business for 3 months or more, I would have gotten my money's worth for the 100 dollars I paid for the modem.

  • mgamerz

    No link to sign up?

  • Sxeptomaniac

    Well, There's no requirement that the clip be attached to the device, as that does seem rather unnecessary. I can see the clip being a useful option if I want to attach it someplace nearby, though, rather than set it on something.

  • Rob

    LOL. Not even in my area. Only appears to be serving major cities nationwide. What are the odds that they'd really have coverage "at the beach" like is shown on their website.

  • Wayne Randall

    500MB/mo for $100 outright? I'll take two, thank you. I don't even care if it's 3G, actually I would prefer it.

  • Freak4Dell

    "...but third isn't bad."

    Yeah, it's not bad. It's terrible. I'm not sure I'd use Sprint's network even for free.

  • GazaIan

    I doubt the ugly clip has to be on the device, since it's not plugged into any port on the iPad mini.

    Nonetheless, free data? Mine, all mine.

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