Tis the season of boring useless gifts — John Grisham novels, itchy wool sweaters, cat calenders. We’re thinking it’s about time to turn to the power of wireless broadband to help you get a gift your loved ones will actually like. Blazing fast cell phone networks, cheap WiFi hardware, the commoditization of technology like GPS and the rise of mobile content are bringing these five last-minute wireless gift ideas to online and brick-and-mortar retailers near you:
1). Sierra Wireless’ AirCard 595 PC Card — this PC card is one of the first that can run over the new EVDO Rev A networks recently lit up by Verizon Wireless and Sprint. It’s for sale online now for $99.99 (but only after a $50 rebate with a new two year customer agreement). Of course you need a subscription to the service too.
2). Nokia’s E62 Smart Phone — The BlackJack, the Dash, and the Pearl might be flashier but Nokia’s E62 is the smartphone for the sensible set. It’s $150 with a Cingular contract. Yeah, it doesn’t have WiFi, but at the price we can’t complain.
3). Meraki Mini, under $100 for WiFi mesh — If you’re harboring dreams of setting up a lil WiFi network in your neighborhood or apartment building, you can buy a series of cheap nifty WiFi access points from Meraki. It’s still in beta production but if you email them, they’ll probably be happy to sell you a few. Google’s backing the technology, and you can too.
4). TeleNav mobile navigation — GPS navigation is so common your cell phone can now do it. And TeleNav is one of the better mobile navigation services out there. It might be a bit hard to sign up a friend for this $10 per month service, because you need all the users mobile stats. But maybe a $120 check in a card with the company’s URL.
5). If you’ve been watching You Tube recently you’ll be more than familiar with this xmas ditty-in-a-box. Now you can send it as a ringtone to your comrades for free, courtesy of Ringtone Soup (Verizon tends to disable the link in some phones):